It may only have been his third game at fullback for the season but Mitch Brown’s performance on Saturday night may very well have been a match-winning one.
The 26-year-old put in three try-saving attempts, including two in the final 15 minutes, to help his side to a 6-4 win at AAMI Park; its first in Melbourne since 2005.
Brown was singled out by coach Des Hasler post match and deservingly so.
The fullback appeared in all the right places when his team needed him most, covering so much ground you would have been forgiven for thinking there were two of him out there on AAMI Park.
Brown found himself in the coalface 11 minutes from time when Billy Slater broke the line with just the Bulldogs fullback to beat for what would likely have been the game-winning try.
However this was a night in which Slater’s opposing number would not be denied, producing a great tackle to mow down his more decorated counterpart.
“I was just hoping he didn’t run around me, he is that quick,” Brown told NRL.com.
“He has been probably the best fullback in the last eight years and probably one of the best to go down in all time…Where he is, you’ve got to be, and he is bloody everywhere.
“So you have really got to study his game, him and [Cameron] Smith and [Cooper] Cronk and how well they work together.”
Brown admitted his ability to perform against quality opposition gives him the confidence to take a step towards making the fullback spot his own for the remainder of the year.
“It does, I didn’t really get the opportunity to train much there in the off-season or throughout the year,” said Brown.
“Every game I am learning that little bit more and just trying to get back to when I was playing fullback.
“I am try to get it to the point where it just flows and I’m not thinking about it too much; week by week I am getting a bit more confident.”
Brown will be hoping to continue his form when the Bulldogs aim for three straight wins when they meet Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium next Sunday afternoon.