Across his four-year NRL career Nathan Brown has forged a reputation as a firebrand enforcer, but his new teammates at Parramatta say it’s his skill level which has impressed them most this pre-season.
Brown, 23, arrived at the Eels as their marquee signing after a strong 2016 campaign with the Rabbitohs, which saw him earn selection for City Origin while averaging 27 tackles and 94 metres per game at club level.
But while Brown is known for his aggressive streak, which has drawn criticism from the likes of former NSW Origin halfback Brett Kimmorley and NRL judiciary chairman Michael Buettner in the past, fellow forward Tepai Moeroa said he brings a different set of attributes to the Parra pack.
— telegraph_sport (@telegraph_sport) June 7, 2016
“He [Brown] has been good, he has added heaps to our forward pack, he has brought some ball-playing ability which has transferred to the other boys,” Moeroa said.
“As a result more of our forwards are promoting the ball and playing more footy. That is a really good thing that bringing Nathan to the club has done for us.
“Just with his offloading, he is always trying to find a pass before the line or through the line, and the boys are all trying to bring that to their game too.
“If all of our middles can ball-play as well then we have got lots of options all over the park in attack, so that will definitely help.”
After missing out on playing finals footy last year with South Sydney, Brown said he was encouraged by Parramatta’s resilient attitude in 2016, after the club’s season was all but ended by a 12-point deduction for salary cap breaches.
With Brown joining Frank Pritchard, Suaia Matagi and Siosaia Vave as forward recruits at the Eels for 2017, Parramatta have one of the competition’s best packs on paper, in terms of both quality and depth.
“As a forward pack we have been working well together and we have got some good depth,” Brown, who began his first-grade career with Wests Tigers in 2013, said.
“I am dead-set loving it, I’m loving the change. They did well last year considering what happened off the field, and that is one of the reasons why I came here.
— Chris Kennedy (@CKennedy80) February 7, 2017
“Everyone works for each other and that is what wins games.
“I like to play a bit of footy in the forwards, that’s how I play, that is how I love to play, Brad (coach Brad Arthur) knows that and we have just got to work with that.”
Eels prop Nathan Brown spent that whole set at dummy half and finished it by grubbering through and chasing for a solo try. Skills #NRLAKL9s
— Chris Kennedy (@CKennedy80) February 4, 2017