Cronulla Sharks prop Braden Hamlin-Uele ready to take fight to St George Illawarra Dragons

“I’m ready for the derby. The street fight happened when I bumped off James Graham off the kick-off.

“I’ll be looking to carry that on. I didn’t iron him out, but it was a good moment for me.

“I got the ball, they’re a big team, sometimes you look at players and think ‘I’ll run at you’, but there was nowhere to run this day. I saw him run out a bit to try and put a shot on me, but I turned. It was a memorable moment.

“That typified to me I could run with the big boys. I’d like a few more of those moments.”

Hamlin-Uele, who looks like a young Andrew Fifita, has been nothing short of brilliant for the Sharks. He will need to step up again with Fifita ruled out of the Shire battle with a knee injury.

As for McGregor’s bullying claims about Cronulla, Hamlin-Uele said: “I wouldn’t say it’s bullying, but you definitely want to get over your opposite number. The first team that cracks loses, and we don’t want to be that team. Unfortunately we’ve shown that in some games.

We need to get back into that and be really physical. I love that stuff.

Braden Hamlin-Uele

“The Sharks were always known as a tough team to play against. Nobody liked coming here to play. Even when they were getting flogged, they would always bash people.

“We need to get back into that and be really physical. We did that against the Cowboys and Rabbitohs, we smothered them, and we need to get back to that. I love that stuff.

“When he [McGregor] says ‘street fight’ I think he means it will be a tough game. Nobody throws punches and there won’t be any blues, but it will be aggressive and full on.”

While the Sharks lose Fifita, they do welcome the return of Matt Moylan who missed the Penrith loss with concussion. Cronulla need a win to stay in the hunt for the eight, while the 14th-placed Dragons are playing for pride.

Hamlin-Uele, who deserves to be in the rookie of the year conversation with teammates Bronson Xerri and Briton Nikora, said he wanted to continue to work on his defence, and was still upset for missing Nathan Cleary right on half-time last Friday.

Meanwhile, in other team news:

  • Sam Burgess, Adam Reynolds and Braidon Burns were all named for South Sydney’s clash against Canterbury, who also named Kieran Foran in the No. 20.
  • Tommy Talau, the son of former Canterbury and New Zealand centre Willie Talau, will debut in the centres for the Wests Tigers on Thursday night, while Jacob Liddle wears the injured Robbie Farah’s No, 9 jersey.
  • Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen return for competition leaders Melbourne.
  • Penrith rookies Stephen Crichton and Spencer Leniu have been retained for Friday’s road trip to Suncorp Stadium.

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