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Sharks quartet help guide NSW Residents

Young Sharks Blayke Brailey and Kyle Flanagan combined for the opening try off the match and from there it was all the Blues as the NSW Residents scored a dominant 36-20 win over Queensland Residents in the curtain-raiser to State of Origin game two.

Taking advantage of the fact they have been combining for similar plays since their early days in junior rugby league back at the Aquinas Colts, it was a Brailey grubber, fielded and planted down by Flanagan, which got the ball rolling for NSW with the first try of the contest.

When Flanagan followed up with the conversion, the first of six goals he would kick from six attempts on the day, it was 6-0 NSW and the Blues had their tails up.

From there the first period was all NSW as they took a 30-0 lead to half time in ensuring the result was safely in their keeping.

While the final scoreline may have indicated a reasonably competitive contest, Queensland crossed for three tries in the last five minutes to bring some respectability to the final scoreline.

If the two young guns grabbed the early attention, equally effective were Sharks centre Aaron Gray and prop Kurt Dillon, with the pair outstanding in the winning effort.

A lot of the play went to left for NSW, however Gray playing at right centre also proved a handful whenever he managed to get his hands on the ball, while Dillon received some rave reviews from commentator and former Blues great Steve Roach for his bruising defence and high workload.

The four Sharks have been plying their trade for the Newtown Jets in the Intrust Super Premiership, Gray and Dillon having tasted the NRL in 2018, while Brailey and Flanagan continue to patiently wait for their opportunity in the top grade.

Named captain of the NSW team after the withdrawal of Scott Sorensen, Flanagan had the honour of hoisting the Residents shield following the win.

As for Sorensen, the powerful backrower has no injury concerns, with his late withdrawal as precaution due to the fact he is a likely starter for the Sharks for their game against the Warriors in New Zealand on Friday.

For more on the NSW v Queensland Residents game, see the NSWRL match report - CLICK HERE

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour 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.