Tom Trbojevic has hailed the "football whisperer" Joe Wehbe as a central figure in his battle with a hamstring injury after he capped a record-breaking effort with a NSW State of Origin recall.
After tearing St George Illawarra to pieces at Lottoland on Sunday, Trbojevic erased any doubt about whether he was suffering lingering effects of the hamstring injury which has sidelined him for most of the first few months of the NRL season.
In just his fourth game of the year, and his second after returning from a recurrence of the niggling problem, he blew the Dragons to pieces by running for 333 metres.
According to Fox Sports Stats, it represents the fourth most metres run by a player in a single game since records started being kept in 1998.
Only Justin Hodges (346m), Wade McKinnon (345m) and Akuila Uate (335m) have run for more.
It was also the most metres run by a Manly player - surpassing John Hopoate's 290 metres in 2003 - and blitzing his personal best return of 232 metres against Penrith in the last round in 2017.
Trbojevic said during his rehabilitation, he had worked closely with Wehbe, the enigmatic mind coach who is a close confidant of the likes of James Tedesco, Mitchell Moses and Tim Mannah.
Trbojevic said Wehbe had helped him clear his mind of distractions and allowed him to play his best football.
"I've been seeing a lot of him recently and he helps me be myself on the field," Trbojevic said.
"He's one of the most honest guys you'll ever meet. He comes from a great place, he's a great person.
"I can't word it. But I've played footy my whole life. I've never worried about it, I would go on a footy field and enjoy it. It's no different here."
Two hours after his clinic against the Dragons, Trbojevic was named at centre in Brad Fittler's Blues squad for Sunday's game two in Perth after Josh Morris and Latrell Mitchell were controversially dropped.
While a relatively unfamiliar position, he said he harboured no fears having played there for Australia last year and in the 2017 World Cup.
Trbojevic, 22, said his battle with a hamstring complaint had been the most difficult of his young career but believed he was out the other side.
Australian Associated Press