Brown grabs second chance after Pay wake-up call
Fa'amanu Brown is the first to admit his relationship with Canterbury Bulldogs coach Dean Pay got off to a shaky start.
This was a kid who spent five seasons in the Shire and joined the Bulldogs with the understanding Des Hasler was going to be coach and a perfect chance to secure the halves spot alongside Kieran Foran.
Rumours surfaced over summer of a new recruit turning up to his club with a less than impressive attitude. The former Cronulla Sharks utility was aware word had got out.
"Dean (Pay) pulled me aside and I got a little bit of a telling off," Brown told NRL.com.
"I never had the right attitude towards training whether it was a hard or easy session. You have to have that same mentality to give your all regardless of what you're doing.
"I wasn't giving it 100 per cent at the time. Dean made me realise how grateful I should be to have this job."
Brown said the issues he faced in his first months at Belmore were minor – turning up to training late and failing to perform to the best of his ability.
There were no behavioural problems or sackable offences.
"The Bulldogs are different with their training schedules compared to what I was used to at the Sharks," Brown said.
"That's the hard thing about coming into a new club, you have to work with new characters, learn new routines and start fresh. I probably wasn't ready for that, I thought it would have been the same environment. One thing they've taught me is hard work, especially with Dean about my attitude.
"The good thing about Dean is he's honest and that's what you want from a coach. I'm not saying Flanno (Sharks coach Shane Flanagan) wasn't like that, but that's one thing that I value from Dean whether we like it or not.
"It's been an awesome change in that regard."
Despite the acceptance, the reality is Brown now finds himself in familiar territory – fighting for his position in first grade and playing second fiddle to Michael Lichaa – after the pair played together in the lower grades at Cronulla.
The Bulldogs have been working behind the scenes too, signing Knights halfback Jack Cogger from 2019.
But Brown was not willing to give up now. He made his club debut off the bench last week against the Panthers, and has been retained for the side's Good Friday clash with the Rabbitohs.
"It's out of our control who the club signs," Brown said.
"The reason I left was to play more footy because I know for myself, this is the level I want to play. I felt like at the Bulldogs I could. Especially under Dean now, he's still teaching me about attitude.
"I sort of only met Des and he signed me on potential but as soon as Dean come across I thought it was another fresh face I have to prove myself to. Still to this day I have to.
"When I came in he had a chat and said everyone has got a fresh start but I didn't take that opportunity at first so am keen to put my best foot forward again."