A rib cartilage injury has kept Braden Uele from enjoying a happy homecoming, with the former Cowboy, along with youngster Kyle Flanagan, the only Sharks top squad players to be unavailable for first round matches this weekend.

Uele suffered his injury late in the second half of the Sharks trial match against the Tigers, with the injury set to see him sidelined for the first few rounds of the 2018 season.

A physical front rower with good footwork and plenty of skill, Uele has been impressive in pre-season and in the Sharks two trial outings and could have been expected to make the trip to Townsville this weekend had he been fit to play. 

As for Flanagan, the 19-year-old broke a thumb in the Sharks first trial against the Manly Sea Eagles and is slated for a round three or four return to the field.

Otherwise the Sharks are reporting no other injury concerns, with coach Shane Flanagan having close to a full-strength line up to choose from for his season-opener in Townsville.

Ava Seumanufagai, who makes his club debut in the round one match, failed to finish the Tigers trial, but has been included in the Sharks line up for the Cowboys clash and is a certain starter.

In speaking to Sharks TV, Seumanufagai said his early exit had more to do with the club medical staff playing it safe rather than the problem being a serious or long-term issue.

“The body is good, it was pre-cautionary more than anything, nothing serious,” he said. “I’ve been training properly this full week and I’ll be going in confident.”

Sharks TV spoke to Seumanufagai at training earlier this week. Hear his thoughts about the Sharks round one match on Friday, with his interview now playing on Sharks TV.