Brawling Brown matured into Origin weapon

Pamela Whaley
·2-min read

NSW forward Nathan Brown has come a long way since he was sent off during a shocking all-in brawl in an under-20s match at Campbelltown Stadium back in 2013.

Playing for Wests Tigers, Brown had a meltdown during the wild melee and went toe-to-toe with then-Canberra lock Mitch Barnett before he was given his marching orders.

Back then he had a reputation as a loose cannon - a hot head who was ruled by his temper rather than football smarts.

Blues skipper and former Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco wasn't playing in that game, but doesn't let Brown forget it.

"We give it to him about that," Tedesco told AAP.

"He just loses his head.

"He even says that he used to play with his head and his emotions would get the better of him, but now he plays with his heart and goes hard and leaves nothing out there.

"He's definitely learnt a lot mentally.

"He still has his aggression but it's more controlled."

The pair have been friends since coming through the grades together at the Tigers in a group of about 10 talented kids who became mates for life.

Some, like Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses kicked on, but others didn't.

Brown was one of the lucky ones that realised the opportunity he had and finally pulled his finger out, starting to eat well and train with more purpose.

"He probably didn't have that when he was younger," Tedesco said.

"When I was (at the Tigers) he wasn't improving much and he was just happy to be in the squad or playing a few games, but I think now he's matured he's realised what he needs to do every week to prepare to play his best game."

After leaving the Tigers for South Sydney, it was at Parramatta where he learned to channel his aggression positively.

It's a large part of why he was selected to make his Origin debut for the Blues in Sydney last week, impressing from the bench in a 17-minute stint.

"I love him, I was pretty proud to see him play his debut," Tedesco said.

"The way he's developed and become one of the best locks in the game, I'm proud of how he's done that and how he carries himself on and off the field.

"He was awesome on debut. He added so much impact.

"He's built for Origin the way he carries the footy and shows his aggression in defence."