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Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan didn't want to single out any players following his side's crushing 42-16 win over the Raiders, but even he couldn't deny the star quality of rookie Jayden Brailey who scored his first try in the NRL on Saturday night.

Flanagan and Sharks skipper Paul Gallen both agreed that "the sky's the limit" for the 2016 Holden Cup player of the year who beat out experienced players to replace Michael Ennis in the No.9 jersey. 

Brailey made 22 tackles and ran for 64 metres against Canberra, but it was his 47th minute try that proved the difference with his four-pointer sparking a five-try surge that blew the Raiders off the park. 

Flanagan said he wasn't surprised to see Brailey handle the ascension to NRL so coolly, crediting the World Club Challenge as the perfect initiation to first grade. 

"I've known the kid for basically his whole life. He's a really level-headed kid, he loves his football and he prepares well and he's a good trainer and he's got all the qualities," Flanagan said after the game. 

"Jayden is going to be around for a long period of time. He's 20 years old and he could've played 80 minutes today. 

"He's been to Wigan and played in a tough first game over there. I remember Gal spoke to me after and said that that was semi-final speed and it was intense. And then in the opening game of the season he handled it pretty well. 

"He played 60 minutes and today he could have played 80. He scored a try and he's got a bright future ahead of him. He's got some work to do like everyone has but the sky's the limit for him."


Gallen was full of praise for the local junior and credited Ennis for helping him slot straight into the first grade system. 

"He's a great kid and I can't speak highly enough of him," Gallen said. 

"He's really level-headed, down-to-earth, trains really hard – which is what I like – he doesn't get ahead of himself and he listens to Michael Ennis at training. Ennis has been great for him. 

"He's got a lot to learn, as Flanno said – a heap to learn as far as his attacking options go – but as far as being aggressive and having the right attitude to play first grade, he's got that in spades. 

"As Flanno said, if he keeps on working on his attack, the sky's the limit for him."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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