Jayden Brailey has capped his impressive rookie season by agreeing to a two-year contract extension with the Cronulla Sharks.
The 21-year-old local junior was already contracted until the end of 2018 but has agreed to a deal to remain in Sharks colours until at least the end of 2020.
Brailey, who played junior league with Aquinas Colts, came through Cronulla’s academy and development program to enjoy an outstanding rookie season in 2017, with his slick service from dummy half and solid defence in the middle of the field a feature of his game.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was pleased Brailey had settled his immediate playing future and was looking forward to being a part of the young hooker’s continued development.
“Jayden is only young and he had a tough first year. He needed to play big minutes, then he had the broken jaw but he is tough and resilient. He came back from the injury and had an excellent season,” Flanagan said.
“He has the respect of his senior teammates, from players like Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis, which is important, and if Jayden keeps going and keeps doing what he’s doing he will have a long and successful career at the Sharks and in the NRL.”
Following the retirement of grand final-winning hooker Michael Ennis, Brailey won the job as his replacement after a strong 2017 pre-season, cementing his place in the Sharks side in the early rounds.
He played 19 NRL matches, scoring four tries, while averaging 36 tackles per game.He suffered a broken jaw in round 20 but returned to play a role in Cronulla’s push into the finals.
His contract extension is another bonus for the Sharks on the back of the recent recruitment of Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan to long-terms deals.
Wests Tigers forward Ava Seumanufagai, South Sydney utility back Aaron Gray, returning local junior Scott Sorensen and highly rated young Cowboys prop Braden Uele are other new faces on the Sharks roster for 2018.