General Brown to Hooker.

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2big2strong_old

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NRL: Brown determined to make most of new role
By Patrick McKendry

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Lewis Brown. Photo / Dean Purcell.


Lewis Brown became a key member of the Warriors on their incredible run to last year's grand final and hopes he will play another important part this season after being told to concentrate on the hooker's role.

Brown will retain his utility role due to his ability to play second row and centre, but being hooker - and having more of an opportunity to run from dummy-half - suits him just fine.

He was signed by the Warriors in 2008 as a hooker but former coach Ivan Cleary soon turned him into a hard-working and powerful second-rower.

"It means my decision-making has to become a bit sharper and my passing and just all-round general development of my skills need to be better," he said. "My favourite part of the game is dummy-half running - close to the action - so hopefully I will catch out a few lazy runners around the ruck area."

Brown's deceptive running caught out many an opponent last season, whether from the second-row or slightly wider at centre where he was one of several players to fill in for the injured Jerome Ropati.


He famously scored the winning try against Melbourne to send the Warriors to the grand final against Manly.

The Warriors have lost Lance Hohaia, Aaron Heremaia and Shaun Berrigan from last season, meaning Brown and Alehana Mara are leading candidates to provide back-up at hooker behind specialist Nathan Friend, a new signing from the Gold Coast Titans.

Friend is an 80-minute player but missed most of last season with injury and new coach Brian McClennan is keeping his options open ahead of the upcoming season.

"I'm enjoying it at the moment and learning off Nathan Friend and players like that," Brown said. "This is my fourth year in the NRL. This pre-season I've probably felt my best. I'm feeling fit and strong, I've trimmed down a bit and my strength's up in the gym, [but] I'm not blowing my own trumpet too much - it's applying that to the field and the games."

The 25-year-old, who has played more than 50 games for the Warriors, is establishing himself as an important fixture at the club and toured with the Kiwis at the end of last season.

The Christchurch-born player has always had to work hard to get the best out of himself and that determination shows no sign of diminishing as he looks to cement his place in the match-day squad again.

"Just gaining the respect of my teammates and hopefully being in that 17 each week," Brown said of his goals for the year. "For me, it's about being consistent. I probably went through a patch last year when I wasn't that consistent and I get pretty hard on myself but this year one of my goals is to be consistent week in, week out and just doing my job for the team."

Brown was named in a 25-man Warriors squad to play the Gold Coast Titans in a trial game at North Harbour Stadium tomorrow Saturday night. He is one of 11 in the squad who played in last year's grand final defeat to Manly.

- APNZ

Lank - https://www.nzherald.co.nz/league/news/article.cfm?c_id=79&objectid=10783192

Ooh, I'll bet 200,000 warriors dollars that Mara will get a release before the year is out. The good news is that now we don't have 'weak-link-brown' in the centers anymore!! WHAKA YEAH!
 
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Spence_old

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Interesting, he was training with the forwards at the open training today. Friend and Mara were together, Tuimavave and Godinet together, and Locke kicking bombs with Maloney and Johnson for Fisiiahi (probably due to Locke's injury?).

I don't see Brown being a very successful Hooker, I'm not sure he has the distribution skills required. He was amazing in the second row, before being dicked about in the centres, I'd like him to focus on that skill. Happy for him to prove me wrong though!
 

Swanley_old

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He would be a more of the Henderson style hooker.

He is a very strong runner and could make really good metres from dummy half.

He should go ok.
 

Ryan_old

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My guess is this article has perhaps misrepresented that Brown is simply brushing up on his hooker skills as he would be the in-match replacement for Friend should he go down. Which would mean that we're going with Friend as an 80min hooker (which is what I'd like to see).
 

sebastian_old

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My guess is this article has perhaps misrepresented that Brown is simply brushing up on his hooker skills as he would be the in-match replacement for Friend should he go down. Which would mean that we're going with Friend as an 80min hooker (which is what I'd like to see).

I think your right as there was an official article saying so a short time ago. Especially with news saying Friend was training with Mara. Who'd be a great mentor.

I sincerely hope your wrong. I can't tell you how important that impact hooker is to our particular style.
 

sebastian_old

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I don't see Brown being a very successful Hooker, I'm not sure he has the distribution skills required. He was amazing in the second row, before being dicked about in the centres, I'd like him to focus on that skill. Happy for him to prove me wrong though!

This.

Great second rower. Half decent back up utility if needed but thats that.
 

Ryno_old

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How about a 4 man forward bench rotation with Friend playing 80 and Brown providing hooker / lock cover.

Bench:
Sam Rapira / Packer
Matulino
Brown
Taai / Steve Rapira
 

Spence_old

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How about a 4 man forward bench rotation with Friend playing 80 and Brown providing hooker / lock cover.

Bench:
Sam Rapira / Packer
Matulino
Brown
Taai / Steve Rapira

Such a tricky one. On one hand I want to see Godinet bust into the side, but on the other we've got such great depth in the second row. Win-win, I guess. It's a good situation to be in.
 

sebastian_old

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How about a 4 man forward bench rotation with Friend playing 80 and Brown providing hooker / lock cover.

Bench:
Sam Rapira / Packer
Matulino
Brown
Taai / Steve Rapira

Because we've shown our style to be a steady opening, but coming home strong in the later halves. To continue that style we'll continue to need a fresh impact hooker off the bench. Brown simply cannot cater to that role as well as Mara or Godinet could. I just don't get the obsession with the 4 forward bench in this day and age of a speedy game. I suppose its not as fast before the wrestling came in but due to the 10 interchange it still usually becomes quite a quick contest, on average.

I mean unless Bluey has plans of changing our style to mirror the Melbourne Storm and plans to use Friend in the Cam Smith type of role. Which requires patience and set moves, not the flashy second halves we've been famous for becoming so strong at. I suppose that style got us to a GF but maybe to win a GF Bluey thinks we need to play more conservitive, more patient and or just slicker.
 
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ToiletDuck_old

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Funny that. I'm of the exact opposite mindset. I think impact hookers are mostly a hindrance, no matter what the team.

Agreed. Give me a hooker who plays 80 mins, and can read a game (Cam Smith, Buderus etc) over 2 flash in the pan impact men.
 

Ryan_old

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Agreed. Give me a hooker who plays 80 mins, and can read a game (Cam Smith, Buderus etc) over 2 flash in the pan impact men.
Exactly. Look how well a team with a solid-distributing-tackle-machine, like Ballin, can do. Fancy hookers are smelly balls (opinion, not necessarily fact).
 

sebastian_old

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Its not even about opinion, who wouldn't want Cam Smith in their team. The fact is we've played that impact style for 5-6 years.

Are you implying that Friends presence automatically commits us to a altering style?

Granted it may be a fair assumption but it may just be Bluey sees our impact style as a strength, to continue. Its a point that either way won't be settled until the season starts.
 
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Spence_old

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Its not even about opinion, who wouldn't want Cam Smith in their team. The fact is we've played that impact style for 5-6 years.

Are you implying that Friends presence automatically commits us to a altering style?

Granted it may be a fair assumption but it may just be Bluey sees our impact style as a strength, to continue. Its a point that either way won't be settled until the season starts.

I think that was more of a case of us having the amazing combination of nonexistent structure in the backline with no real halves for the last 5-6 years. Hence we had to rely on individual magic. Now we've got strike power all over the field, two halves that are working well together and a brilliant hooker. Time for us to grow up and become a consistent force in the NRL!
 

LordGnome_old

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So, if Brown is gonna be a second rower and cover for Friend if he gets injured during a match, who is going to play at centre alongside Ropati?
 

KeepingTheFaith_old

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Its not even about opinion, who wouldn't want Cam Smith in their team. The fact is we've played that impact style for 5-6 years.

Are you implying that Friends presence automatically commits us to a altering style?

Granted it may be a fair assumption but it may just be Bluey sees our impact style as a strength, to continue. Its a point that either way won't be settled until the season starts.

I'd say Friends signing allowed us the option of changing our style. We haven't really had an 80 minute hooker who had the right skillset.

Id daresay that Friends wouldn't have signed if he were under the impression he'd only be playing 50-60 minutes. The guy is a nazi (in the nicest possible way) with his health regime and work ethic. He can play the full 80 without dropping performance.
 

Patu_old

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It is true that Brown has mostly been operating at hooker at training during the off-season. Without being privy to what goes on in the minds of McClennan and Iro, I'd say that their reasoning would be at least two-fold:

1) We have an abundance of second-rowers and only 4 slots in the 17 to fit them into. This is perhaps the reason why Steve Raps has been bulking up to play at prop, Ta'ai is seen as a possible option there as well, Taukeiaho is a second-rower/prop/winger, and one of our more brighter second-rower talents in the NYC in Ben Matulino has also reverted to prop (and a fantastic one at that), not to mention Lillyman's transformation. Brown when in top form is clearly part of our top 17, and so allowing him to play at a hooker is a means of being able to include him in the squad while at the same time being able to carry another one of our talented second-rowers on the bench.

2) Brown's strength in WHATEVER position he plays is his dummy-half runs. His workrate for me isn't high enough for a second-rower, and his evasion/distribution skills are not good enough to be considered among the elite centers, so hooker might just be his gig. In saying that I think he could really improve as a second-rower (he needs to do away with the whole jersey-grab thing when defending and really tuck in and do some of the 1 percenters that guys like Mannering are reknown for) and no doubt he'll get a run there sometime during the season.

3) Friend is coming off a serious injury, and missed most of the season last year. I doubt he'd be up for 80 minutes straight first up, altho his fitness is sublime. I don't see anything wrong with giving him a bit of a breather - Cameron Smith is in a class of his own in terms of playing the whole game while at the same time being a smart footballer.

(Ok so there's three reasons already!)
 

Patu_old

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Inu, Hurrell, Tuimavave, Taylor, etc. We've got lots of options.
I think most will be surprised that Benry will be starting at center tonight (right center if I'm correct). Iro has long been a fan of Benry, and Bluey has been won over as well. Don't be surprised if Benry makes the teamlist for round 1 (esp. in Luck's absence), trial form depending of course.
 

Spence_old

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Wow, that's a big call. Not one I entirely agree with, but I'll give him a chance.