The promising rugby league career of Wee Waa boy Braydon Trindall reached an electrifying new height on Friday night when the 24-year-old won the Preston Campbell medal for a man-of-the-match performance in the NRL’s 2024 All Stars match.

Trindall, who is a proud Muruwarri/Kamilaroi man, lined up at five-eight in the six jersey for the Indigenous team and played a starring role in a 22-14 victory against the Maori men at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville.

The Cronulla Sharks half had a key role in the Indigenous team’s first try in the sixth minute as he threw a pass to Latrell Mitchell down the left edge who then put Josh Addo-Carr over in the corner with his own sharp pass. Maori led 6-4 following that try after their five-eighth Kodi Nikorima had converted a third-minute Joe Tapine try, but Trindall took control of the game after that and directly set up the Indigenous team’s next two tries with brilliant kicks to put Addo-Carr over for his second in the 17th minute and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow over on the half-hour mark.

The Indigenous team led 16-8 at half-time and both sides crossed for a converted try in the final 10 minutes as the final score finished 22-14.

Trindall was then named the winner of the prestigious Preston Campbell medal during the presentation after the match. He became the 12th different player to receive the medal and the seventh Indigenous player as he joined a list that includes Johnathan Thurston (2010 and 2017), Nathan Merritt (2012), Ben Barba (2013), George Rose (2015), Tyrone Roberts (2019) and Nicho Hynes (2023).

It was a special feeling for Trindall, who as a youngster would travel to watch the All Stars matches with his mum, Wee Waa’s Kerri Cochrane, and attended Indigenous team fan days where he met some of the players he looked up to such as Thurston, Greg Inglis and Sam Thaiday.

To go with his dominance in attack, Trindall also produced what was a classy defensive effort on the edge in Friday night’s game and earned praise from the team’s coach Ron Griffiths.

“When we picked (Trindall) he was going to be a nine (hooker), but when Cody (Walker) pulled out we had no hesitation playing him in the halves,” Griffiths told

“I said to him before the game – and my message to him doesn’t change what he does, because he’s a special player – but I said to him, ‘when the time’s right to step out of the shadows you will’, and he did that tonight.

“It was fantastic. I thought early on in the game he really controlled the pace.

“There was a special defensive effort too. I think it might have been in the third quarter, when he came up with a chase back. Those are the sort of plays that win you games. That’s why he’s got that medal around his neck.”

NRL immortal and the Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga also commended Trindall after the match.

“Braydon deserved it,” Meninga said of the Preston Campbell medal award during the Fox League post-match panel discussion.

“His first half, in particular, was sensational. He got them off to a really good start.

“He was very influential in the victory and congratulations to him. Here’s to hopefully a fantastic year for him at the Sharkies this year.”

Former NRL superstar and NSW Blues adviser Greg Alexander was also on that panel and declared that he thought Trindall was “first class” on the night.

“A couple of great kicks to lay on some tries early in the game when the game was in the balance,” Alexander said.

“That gave the Indigenous side a great advantage.

“Defensively, I thought he was very good too. We kept commenting about how the Maoris just couldn’t get it done on the right side, but Braydon Trindall’s defence on that edge was first class.

“Great in attack but great in defence as well.”

Trindall and his Cronulla Sharks teammate, the 2022 Dally M medal winner Nicho Hynes, filled the club’s fans with confidence as they led the Indigenous team to the victory in the annual All Stars clash and offered a preview of what is to come this year.

Trindall has played 51 NRL games for the Sharks since he debuted back in 2020, but this year he is expected to make the number six jersey his own following the departure of five-eighth Matt Moylan.

The Wee Waa boy told he felt that Friday night’s win had helped continue to build on a positive bond that he and Hynes have formed.

“We have really built a good connection and combination and I think it will be good for us leading into the new year,” Trindall said.

“It felt awesome out there tonight.

“It’s been a good week and it’s really filled our [cultural] cups up, which is the main thing we wanted to get out of it.”

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