He is tipped to be the fastest man at the Auckland Nines and the reason losing Kiwi international Peta Hiku to Penrith in the off-season was an easier pill for Manly fans to swallow.

Boom Sea Eagles teenager Tom Trbojevic is predicted to turn heads at Eden Park this weekend but is taking nothing for granted this season as he prepares to try and build on the glimpses of brilliance that produced eight tries in just nine games in the NRL in 2015.

With Hiku now a Panther, Trbojevic is a shoe-in to nail down a regular spot in Trent Barrett's starting side on the wing but the youngster is unsure if the decision to release the Kiwi star represents a show of faith in him from the club.

It has simply been all about trying to improve his own game during the off-season and make an impression on the Eagles' new coach Trent Barrett.


"Trent has told me what he wants from me and I guess I've taken that on board and I've tried to improve my game as much as I can," he said.

Part of that improvement has come in the gym.

Already blessed with blistering pace, Trbojevic has added bulk to his lanky frame in a bid to compete with the game's power wingers as he makes the fulltime transition from Holden Cup.

"I've been working with strength and conditioning coach Dan Ferris as much as I can to try and put on some weight," he said.

"It's tough to put weight on during the year so it's been good in the break to try and gain some muscle mass.

"I've put on three or four kilos so it's going good so far."

Trbojevic is certain to be one of Manly's star attractions in this weekend's Auckland Nines, a tournament where he made a big impression last season despite feeling like "a nervous little kid" in amongst the game's stars.

"It's going to be a great experience and I really enjoyed it last year," he said.

"I'm definitely embracing it differently. Heading over last year, I was a nervous little kid I guess but I've grown a fair bit from my experiences last year.

"It's the first real trial we'll get to impress the coaching staff so I'll go out there and do my best. I can't fault the way the club has been going. Trent has come in and has done an excellent job and we have all bought into what he has given us."

- news.com.au