Brown ready for his red letter day
Energetic utility Lewis Brown says he is comfortable with his role off the bench for both the Kiwis and Penrith after earning a recall to the New Zealand side ahead of the Four Nations final, a match he describes as the most significant of his career to date.
Dropped for the Kiwis' clash against England last week in favour of roommate Thomas Leuluai, a shoulder injury to Leuluai means Brown will line up for his eighth Test this weekend against Australia.
As comfortable as he may be coming off the bench, it comes at the cost of Leuluai whose shoulder injury sees Issac Luke promoted to hooker and the 28-year-old Brown to the bench.
With the Riccarton Knights junior lining up for one of the biggest fixtures rugby league has to offer, support from Leuluai himself has expelled any guilt he may have about replacing his roommate.
"I really feel for Thomas but he told me to go out there and play my own game and I've got the encouragement of the whole team so I'm really looking forward to it," Brown said.
"This is probably one of the biggest games I've played, if not the biggest. Representing my country is something I've wanted to do since I was a young kid.
"You dream of playing in finals and big games and it doesn't get any bigger than against the Aussies on Saturday."
Utilised from the interchange more often than not in the NRL, his role at the Panthers has been mimicked by Stephen Kearney's Kiwis team, and Brown noted he had no qualms with delivering some impact from the pine.
"I have probably found myself a little bit more as a player out at Penrith. The brand of footy I do play is probably best suited for the interchange bench. I come on with a second wave of energy and hopefully bring some momentum on to the field," Brown said.
"I felt like I did that with the two games of the tournament [I played] and through my role throughout the season at the Panthers.
"These days in rugby league I think starting on the interchange is just as is important, if not more important than starting. You have to come on whether you're winning or losing... and you have to try and change the game."
Brown's commitment to the Kiwi jumper has been clear to see, with the former Warrior committed to giving "110 per cent" for the Kiwis and coach Kearney.
"At the end of the day I love playing footy... especially in the black jumper," Brown said. "I bleed black and white."