Even now, Nathan Brown struggles to make sense of it.
The ink was barely dry on his Parramatta contract extension when the club decided to move the NSW forward on.
“It was probably one of the weirdest situations I’ve ever been a part of,” Brown told the Herald.
“I’d just re-signed at the club and a few months later they are telling me to look elsewhere. It was a bit of a weird situation. Everything happens for a reason and, if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be at a club like the Roosters.
“There were a few explanations but, at the end of the day, I can’t control their explanations or the way they do things.
“I can only control what I can control, and that is turning up day in and day out for my teammates and having a great attitude.
Nathan Brown and Eels coach Brad Arthur following the 2022 grand final.Credit:Getty Images
“Their decisions are up to them; I can’t control that. That was the club I was employed at, at the time. Now that I’m looking back, I’m glad it happened and have an opportunity at the Roosters.”
In his first year at Parramatta in 2017, Brown won the Ken Thornett Medal as the club’s best player and became a cult hero among fans because of his hard-charging style. His stocks rose higher when he made his State of Origin debut in the 2020 series, which led to him re-signing on a two-year contract the following season.
Soon afterwards, the former Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers forward was told he was surplus to requirements. Last year he made only 14 first-grade appearances, his last coming when he earned a shock recall for the grand final after being dropped following round 17.
Asked about his relationship with coach Brad Arthur, Brown remained diplomatic.
Nathan Brown was something of a cult hero at Parramatta, earning a Blues call-up in 2020.Credit:Getty Images
“I’ve got a good relationship with everyone but, at the end of the day, he’s the coach, he’s the boss,” Brown said. “It’s his decision, and it is what it is. It’s his call.
“There is something to prove, but not to Parramatta.
“I’ve got a point to prove to myself and my new teammates and my new club. I’ve moved on to a club I’m really excited about.
“That is in the past now; I can only concentrate on my future. I want to build trust with my teammates and around the club.”
Brown will bolster a Roosters pack decimated by injuries. The Italy international will provide depth and experience while Angus Crichton, Sitili Tupouniua and Matt Lodge are unavailable, although a hamstring injury will sideline him for several weeks, including for what would have been a spicy clash against the Eels in round five.
The 30-year-old is contracted to the tricolours until the end of this season, but believes his new team will bring out the best in him. And that, Brown hopes, will result in another Origin call-up.
“I’m very lucky and grateful a club like the Roosters gave me an opportunity,” Brown said. “I want to play my best footy that saw me in the Origin side.
“I want to get back into that arena and I believe the Roosters will allow me to do that. I think I can get back to that with such a great club and great coach in Trent Robinson.
“Once you get a phone call from Robbo and the Roosters, you just have to jump at the opportunity.
“I was really excited when my manager told me they were interested. I couldn’t wait to get that phone call from Robbo to see what he had to say.
“He explained himself really well, and now I have to get on the park and play some footy for him.
“It’s a quality club with quality players and a quality coach. I want to work hard so I can be back playing that Origin style of footy.”
Having been a member of the Parramatta side that lost the 2022 grand final, Brown believes he can go a step further with the Roosters.
“We have got a great bunch of talent at the Roosters,” he said. “I’ve only been there for two days but can see why they are a successful club. One day I would love to win a comp. Everyone knows the talent and the potential at the Roosters is through the roof, their culture and the leadership shows why they are a successful club.”
As for a clash against his former team, Brown will have to wait until a round 25 encounter at CommBank Stadium.
“It will be a good one, good fun coming in against your ex-teammates,” he said. “I’m sure it will be a fun occasion.”
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