- Fa‘Amanu Brown’s sporting journey is inspiring
- Overcame childhood poverty to play in the NRL
- Now he is enjoying a season with Hull FC in England
Fa’amanu Brown has overcome the kind of adversity that makes the prospect of a long-awaited Super League debut amid the white-hot atmosphere of a Hull derby an easy one.
One of nine siblings, Brown endured childhood poverty in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he shared a bedroom in a state housing project with four siblings.
Brown, who set out alone to pursue his rugby league dream in Australia at the age of 17, struggled with homesickness and his mental health, then in 2019 he suffered a foot injury and was told by surgeons that he would never I would run again.
“I’ve been through a lot of trauma in my life,” said Brown, 29, a Hull FC recruit.
‘I remember queuing to go to the Salvation Army because we didn’t have any clothes on.
‘I know what it’s like to live in a car and come out of nowhere.
Having endured childhood poverty in New Zealand, Fa’amanu Brown ‘appreciates life’ (pictured in action for Wests Tigers in 2022)
The utility man has signed for Hull FC and can’t wait to show his quality in the English Super League
‘All of that while growing up made me and my brothers understand and appreciate life.
‘Our parents worked in factories and we were determined to break the cycle.
‘A lot of people take this game for granted. “I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Having successfully secured NRL deals with Cronulla and then Canterbury, Brown suffered a foot injury playing for the latter in 2019 which required three operations and led to his devastating diagnosis.
“I had a lot of expectations about the type of player I was going to be in the future, and those injuries just knocked me down,” he said.
‘I broke a bone in my foot and had a limited blood supply, and the surgeon said I would never run again.
‘I was 24 and I hadn’t even reached my peak.
“When I got the news I broke down and cried, but I knew in myself that my journey and where I came from wouldn’t stop me from doing what I love.”
Released by Canterbury that same year, Brown’s path to redemption began in the unlikely surroundings of Featherstone in West Yorkshire, England, with whom he spent an impressive 2021 campaign, culminating in a play-off defeat to Toulouse.
Brown spent the next two years in Australia, playing for Wests Tigers, Bulldogs and Newcastle, but didn’t have to be asked twice to pack his bags again when Hull FC head coach Tony Smith called ahead of the new season. Superleague. .
Brown, 29, enjoyed stints in the NRL with the Sharks, Bulldogs, (twice) Tigers and Knights.
Despite snow hitting the windows of the Aviva Studios in Manchester during the launch of the Super League season last week, Brown said he was excited to have the opportunity to finally appear in the English top flight.
“I always wanted to play Super League and here I am now,” Brown said as he looked forward to Thursday night’s (Friday AEDT) campaign-opening derby against Hull Kingston Rovers.
‘My time at Featherstone made me appreciate the weather in Australia more, but made me mentally stronger and more resilient being away from my family.
“I can’t wait to start with a Hull derby. A lot of people talk about it and put a lot of pressure on it, but it’s nothing new.
“I’ve played in big games before and I’ll treat this game the same way.”
“Now that I’ve finally made it to the Super League, I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
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