NSW tweaker Brown becomes Origin aggressor

Scott Bailey
·3-min read

In Nathan Brown's last serious stint as a NSW player he was a defensive opening batsman and left-arm orthodox bowler playing under-17s cricket for the Blues.

On Wednesday night he will present as one of the great sporting contrasts, told to provide the mongrel as NSW's main aggressor in his State of Origin debut.

A gifted young sportsman, Brown at one stage took 18 months off rugby league to focus on cricket, with Kurtis Patterson as his state captain and Pat Cummins the opening bowler.

He also still has some treasured memorabilia in his home, with former Western Suburbs clubmate Phillip Hughes once handing Brown a whole kit of his old gear.

But while the late Hughes was the fast-scoring strokemaker in his time at the top of the order, Brown was the opposite.

"I wasn't really aggressive, I just probably had a good technique," Brown said.

"Patty Cummins was the opening bowler and he was probably the same pace he is now, it was pretty scary."

Come Wednesday, the 27-year-old knows he has to make the most of his physical prowess.

The one-time tweaker lists the old biffs as his favourite Origin moments, and has to this point in his career lived up to the challenge of being the hard man.

And NSW need him to be.

While the Blues pack were great in their opening stint in the Game I loss to Queensland, they lacked punch up the middle off the bench.

"I just want to be me, be Nathan Brown," he said.

"I don't want to go out there and try too hard, I just have to be me and do what's best for the team.

"Being me solves everything. That aggression and whatnot, it comes off the back of being myself."

At times, Brown perhaps got a little carried away with the physical side of the game in his younger days at Wests Tigers and South Sydney.

But he insists he will not let things get out of hand in the Origin arena.

"Back in my younger days I was probably a bit immature in regards to my football, I didn't have that balance with aggression," Brown said.

"I was ill-disciplined, and it took me a few games to find that balance. Now I think I've matured."

The Parramatta lock's call-up could be just what the Blues need off the back of their opening-match defeat.

He will likely play as more of a prop, after the Maroons' bench got the better of the arm wrestle in a key period after the break in Game I.

And that made-for-Origin mongrel will not hurt Brad Fittler's Blues either.

"That's how he plays. It's not as though we need to add that but it's what he brings," Fittler said.

"We feel like we need some more in the middle.

"I think Payne (Haas) and a few of the boys know how to play big minutes. So it allows you to maybe bring someone on for some impact."