Don't call me the 'Nu train': Brown
Sharks young gun Fa'amanu Brown has expressed his interest in playing lock in a utility capacity in 2016, but isn't planning on replacing Cronulla captain Paul Gallen full time.
The 21-year-old spoke out against headlines that he was the next cab off the rank to replace the aging New South Wales and Kangaroos representative.
Brown is not keen to rack up 35 tackles and 150 metres a game.
"I read the headlines and was like 'oh no, I'm going to cop it'," Brown said.
Interrupted by the Fifita brothers with "Nu Train" taunts while Brown chatted to NRL.com, it was the Sharks' captain who provided some comedic relief for the Samoan international.
"Oh crap he's looking at me now," Brown said, as Gallen approached him.
Making a beeline towards Brown, Gallen leaned in and made sure his younger teammate knew he still "had him covered".
Regardless, Brown is looking to expand his horizons beyond his preferred five-eighth role.
"I just want to become capable of playing in any position that involves ball skills like lock, five-eighth, hooker, just wherever. Wherever Flanno [coach Shane Flanagan] puts me at training, I just have to suck it up and try to do my best in that position," Brown said.
"You never know when you'll get your next opportunity so coming off the bench even and bringing a bit of impact with fresh legs will be good for me around the middle.
"My strengths involve using my feet and my agility so playing in a utility role will work in my favour, but the one thing I have to be mindful of is maintaining my weight. You know, the Pacific Islander genes once you eat you don't stop eating."
Fully recovered from an ACL injury suffered at last year's Auckland Nines, Brown admitted he was a little jealous watching the Sharks' wooden spoon-winning outfit of 2014 go on to make the semi finals last season.
"It was bloody tough and I was definitely jealous over the first few months. But once I was able to get back onto the training paddock I actually just thought we only have one job to do and that's to make the finals and win the premiership," Brown said.
"For me it quickly became about controlling what I could do which was making sure I was right for when I was fully fit.
"My attitude has definitely changed which has put me in good stead for 2016. I still have to shift my character over the coming months because it's been a year being in the gym without the boys but it's helped me becoming heaps more focused more than anything."
With his entire family living in New Zealand, Brown – the youngest brother of five – had to lean on his teammates for support.
A spectator for the entire 2015 season, Brown believes he will be better for his year on the sidelines with the 11 NRL-game rookie hungry for success.
"When I first did my ACL at the Nines, Micky Ennis called me straight away and it sort of sent really positive vibes from the first moments after it happened so I've been lucky to have the boys here," Brown said.
"It has in a way been worth it and I've learnt a lot personally. I'll definitely be mentally stronger this year."