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Braydon Trindall headed into Friday night positioned firmly as second fiddle to Indigenous halves partner Nicho Hynes, but finished having replicated his superstar teammate's achievement from 12 months earlier by winning the Preston Campbell Medal. 

After watching Hynes claim the prestigious honour as best on field last year, Trindall – who represents Gomeroi and Murrawarri – left Queensland Country Bank Stadium with one of his own draped around his neck, after playing a starring role in the Indigenous' 22-14 win over the Māori.  

Promoted into a starting role when last year's captain, Cody Walker, withdrew from selection due to injury, Trindall took his opportunity with both hands and set up two of his side's four tries with kicks. 

He also controlled play well and came up with some big defensive plays when the game sat in the balance. 

Indigenous All Stars v Māori

Post-match coach Ronnie Griffiths said that if Walker had been fit it's likely Trindall wouldn't have even played in the halves in Townsville, while revealing his final words to the 24-year-old before the game which turned out to be prophetic. 

"When we picked [Trindall] he was going to be a nine (hooker), but when Cody pulled out we had no hesitation playing him in the halves," Griffiths said after becoming the first Indigenous coach to beat the Māori All Stars in back-to-back years. 

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.

Ronnie Griffiths

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

"There was a special defensive effort, 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."

The 2024 Indigenous All Stars War Cry

Having spent most of his four-season NRL career to date as a back-up halves option at the Sharks, Trindall is set to partner Hynes on a full-time basis in 2024 following the departure of Matt Moylan. 

After becoming the twelfth different player to win the Preston Campbell Medal, Trindall said his combination with Hynes is constantly improving, with the All Stars experience coming after a strong pre-season together. 

"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."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland 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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