One-time Warrior Lewis Brown is happy to continue his Kiwis comeback from the interchange bench in Saturday’s Four Nations rugby league final against Australia in Wellington.
A shoulder injury has ruled out hooker Thomas Leuluai, meaning Issac Luke was promoted to the starting line-up and Brown stepped up to the bench.
Brown, who played 84 games for the Warriors before signing with Penrith Panthers last season, is relishing the chance to provide impact off the bench after missing the Kiwis’ World Cup squad last year.
“The brand of footy I play is probably best suited for the interchange bench,” he said.
“I come on and give that second wave of energy, and hopefully bring some more momentum.”
It’s an aspect of the game he’s developed despite making the move to Penrith in the hopes of securing a starting role more often.
“These days in rugby league, I think the interchange bench is just as important, if not more important than starting.
“You’ve got to come on and try to change the game, and that’s what I’ll be looking to do on Saturday, just bring the energy which is what we’ve built our game around this whole tournament.”
The 28-year-old utility has filled most positions on the park, and although he admits to not having had a shot at fullback yet, he won’t rule it out just yet.
“At the end of the day, I just enjoy playing footy,” he said.
“Whatever position I am, I’ll give them 110 per cent, especially in the black jumper.
“I bleed back and white, and I can’t wait to get out there on Saturday.”
Although the Kiwis beat the Kangaroos 30-12 in their Four Nations opener in Brisbane three weeks ago, Brown believes the Aussies have grown their game in the last month and are starting to hit their straps with recent wins over England and Samoa.
“In rivalry between New Zealand and Australia, Australia always seem to be favourites,” he said.
“I’ve dealt with the underdog tag all year at the Panthers – no one gave us a chance, and that sat quite well with me.
“I love being the underdog, and I love people writing you off. It’s a good story.”