Matured Brown not seeking Rabbit revenge

Parramatta enforcer Nathan Brown insists there is no extra motivation lining up against the Rabbitohs on Friday night with his former club all that is now standing between the Eels and a Telstra Premiership top four finish.

Not since the 2005 minor premiership has a Parramatta team finished the regular season with more than 30 competition points with the 2017 Eels able to match the mark of 36 points set 12 years ago with a win over the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Friday.

Currently in fourth position, the Eels could finish as high as third if the Broncos fall to the Cowboys on Thursday night and would drop out of the top four to fifth if they were to lose to South Sydney and Cronulla overcome the Knights in Newcastle on Sunday.

‌After beginning his NRL career with the Wests Tigers in 2013, Brown played 28 games for the Rabbitohs across the 2015-2016 seasons before joining the Eels and has missed just one game in his first season at the club.

A fiery presence on the field, Brown says at 24 years of age he has matured as a person and a player and won't be affected by a game against his old team-mates to round out the regular season.

"Not at all, it's just another game," Brown told NRL.com of any additional motivation this week.

"I feel as though I've matured as a player and it shouldn't be an issue playing against your old team.

"It's just another game and I'll do my best to do my job for the team.

"I just want to go and finish off next week and see what we can do in the semis."

Eels coach Brad Arthur laid out his vision for Brown in the off-season and he has been not only one of Parramatta's best but one of the most consistent performers across the NRL all season, ranking sixth in total runs, 11th in run metres, third in hit-ups, seventh in offloads and 14th for tackles made.

They are impressive numbers for a forward once considered an impact player and since moving into the starting lock position have come about from simply spending more time on the paddock.

 


Since Round 7 – and including Round 11 when he played just 21 minutes against Canberra due to a rib injury – Brown has averaged more than 72 minutes per game, his transition to damaging workhorse beginning when he first arrived at Parramatta.

"I got the heads up early that he wanted me to play big minutes," Brown said of Arthur's plan for him.

"He's been great for me and great for my game and told me what he's wanted from me this season which is good as a player.

"You've just got to be professional. You've got to look after your body every day and make some sacrifices to get to where I am today.

"There's not much super-foods, just common sense stuff which is no rubbish and just common sense in what you eat and training hard."

Coming from two passionate supporter bases at the Tigers and Rabbitohs, Brown said the support from long-suffering Eels fans has surpassed even his own expectations and is expecting a strong show of support from the blue and gold army on Friday.

"We're up there in the membership and I've been surprised myself to be honest," Brown said of the fan support.

"They've been through a lot and seeing their support [against the Broncos] was enormous.

"As a player there's nothing better than looking in the grandstand and seeing the blue and gold jerseys.

"It's a great motivation for us leading into the semis."