Kiwi teen Brown benefits from Carney demise

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 20:02 01/07/2014
Fa'amanu Brown
Getty Images
GETTING A START: Fa'amanu Brown.

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Christchurch teenager Fa'amanu Brown has benefited from Todd Carney's bizarre demise at the Cronulla Sharks, with the promising utility named to replace the sacked playmaker at five-eighth against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.

An injury to Carney enabled the 19-year-old to make his NRL debut last month against St George Illawarra and now the former New South Wales and Australian representative's self-harm has worked in Brown's favour.

Carney was sacked by the Sharks on Sunday, less than 24 hours after a photo of the 28-year-old urinating towards his mouth while in the toilets of a Cronulla nightclub was uploaded to social media.

The crisis-hit club's woes were then exacerbated today by interim coach Peter Sharp's decision to resign from his role, effective immediately.

Cronulla subsequently appointed current under-20s coach James Shepherd to lead the first grade side until Shane Flanagan, who is currently suspended for his role in the on-going Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation into performance-enhancing drugs, returns in nine weeks.

Ironically Brown owes a debt of gratitude to Sharp for facilitating his first grade debut and Carney who was a source of advice.

Brown, who joined the Sharks in 2012, was thrilled to play against childhood idol Benji Marshall despite the Dragons winning 30-0 in Wollongong.

He was then included on the interchange bench for matches against Manly and last weekend's 24-22 comeback victory in Brisbane.

Despite the Sharks' nightmarish season, it has been a "dream come true" for Brown, who disregarded the turmoil engulfing the bottom-placed Sharks by re-signing through to the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, skipper Paul Gallen and back rower Luke Lewis will be missing when the Sharks take on the reigning premiers at Allianz Stadium because the duo were predictably named in the New South Wales side for the State of Origin dead rubber in Brisbane next Wednesday.

Cronulla Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Jonathan Wright, Ricky Leutele, Fa'amanu Brown, Jeff Robson, Siosaia Vave, Michael Lichaa, Bryce Gibbs, Anthony Tupou, Wade Graham (captain), Tinirau Arona. Interchange: Tupou Sopoanga, Sam Tagataese, Junior Roqica, Tim Robinson, Sione Masima, Pat Politoni (two to be omitted).

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