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Sharks centre Bronson Xerri.

Forgetting about scoring tries and doing anything flashy and going back to worrying about doing his job for the team sparked a breakout performance for rookie Sharks centre Bronson Xerri on Thursday night.

Ironically the kind of flashy long-range try that was in his mind during a round five loss against the Roosters, when he twice fumbled a chance to do just that, was the end result of a shift back to basics for the 18-year-old speedster against Penrith in round six.

Xerri made the highlight reels in the 48th minute; with his team trailing 14-0 and looking a long way out of the contest, the Sharks spread it wide on a kick return through debutant fullback Will Kennedy and veteran Josh Dugan with the ball finding its way into Xerri's hands with broken play in front of him.

Xerri easily got past an off-balance James Maloney but it was the step and acceleration around fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak that left onlookers stunned as the prodigy bagged the first of what would appear likely to be many NRL tries.

Xerri shows explosive pace

"I got some clean space, I took the opportunity and just backed myself," Xerri shrugged when pressed on his maiden try.

"We needed to do something. Duges saw the space, gave it to me and ended up in a good result. It all started from that. We had a good second half and glad to get the win."

More than anything it was a change in focus for the rookie that reversed the previous week's four-error performance into a night with zero errors, almost 200 metres, a crucial try to get his team on the board plus the last pass for Josh Dugan's match-winning four-pointer.

"It was in my head last week, I just wanted to score or get in clear space but this week I approached the game different and when the opportunity came I just took it," he said.

"I just wanted to do my job. Last week I was to focused on trying to do something, I guess like lairy, but this week I just wanted to get my hard carries in, make my tackles, do what I can to improve and get the win."

Xerri's decision to take a narrow and risky but ultimately profitable short side came down to pure instinct.

"It all happened too fast. I saw him to my left and though I'm just going to take this space and it ended up in a good result. I know Dallin is pretty quick and pretty strong. I just had to put my best foot forward and do what I had to do," he said.

Not that he's getting comfortable in the top grade just yet.

"It's only three games, I'm still trying to find my feet," he said.

"I wasn't too happy with how I performed last week so I'm just trying to find some consistency and hopefully cement my spot in the team."

Match Highlights: Sharks v Panthers

His performance also earned the praise of coach John Morris.

"He can really move!" Morris laughed when prompted on the try.

"That's what we've seen in him for a long time. I'm really happy for him.

"On the back of where he was last week, didn't have the greatest of nights against the Roosters with his hands but for a kid so young to be able to shrug that aside and go out there and perform on the big stage, it's a credit to him and real good for his development to be able to bounce back like that."

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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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