Sharks five-eighth Fa’amanu Brown this weekend returns to NRL action, his first sighting in the top grade since Round 24 of 2014.
Debuting as a 19-year-old when thrown into the Sharks halves in the wake of a mass injury crisis, Brown showed his wares and confidence from the get-go – providing a major spark in two of the Club’s most memorable victories on record, against the Broncos and Roosters respectively.
Looking likely to have first shot at the Sharks ‘6’ jersey before a ball was kicked last season, Brown suffered an unfortunate season-ending knee injury at the 2015 instalment of the Auckland Nines.
But making his Sharks return under largely different circumstances than those when he debuted, the talented half says he’s happy to be back in the mix after overcoming the injury setback
“It’s a real pleasure to be back in the NRL side, it comes after a lot of hard work, and a few tough times,” Brown said.
“I have to thank the hard work of all the staff here at the Sharks, from the moment the injury happened right through to being named to play again this weekend … it’s been a long work in progress but one we’ve not shied away from.
“I’m so happy to be back playing this weekend, It’s something that I’m not taking for granted. Having to watch on last season, it made me hungrier to come back bigger and better when given the chance. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
Brown’s return to the pivot role comes off the back of strong performances for the Club’s feeder side, the Newtown Jets.
Well entrenched inside the Intrust Super Premiership’s top four, his – and the side’s – form has not gone unnoticed.
“There’s a lot of depth at the Sharks this season, so it’s a good chance for not only I but guys like Kurt (Capewell) and Jesse (Sene-Lefao) to have a shot against the Panthers,” Brown said.
“Matty McIlwrick, Jordan Drew … there’s not been a bad performer. It’s exciting to see Kurt make his debut this week, and Jesse his first time out as a Shark.
“Hopefully plenty of Sharks fans can make the trip out to Penrith to cheer us on. We’re hopeful of keeping this run going.”