He's about to take the field for the first time since Round 17 on the biggest stage of all, but Parramatta Eels lock Nathan Brown has made it clear there has been no fall-out whatsoever with coach Brad Arthur or any other members of the playing group.
Brown was a shock selection by Arthur after sticking patiently with the utility option on his bench throughout the latter stages of the season and the finals, especially after suggestions of a falling out with the coach after it was revealed Brown had been told he could look for another club.
“That rumour (of a fallout) is just false,” Brown told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We're on talking terms. All that stuff that's been said about us is rubbish. We're all good. We both know we have a job to do come this Sunday.
“In the back of your mind you worry that other people might believe the rumours, but I don't think they did to be honest. Everyone knows I wouldn't be like that. I'll do what's best for the team and the club.”
Brown has been a loyal servant to the blue and gold since making his way over from South Sydney at the start of 2017. Though the recent challenges have been unprecedented on a personal level, he's still desperate to bring a premiership to the club he's played 109 first-grade games for.
“It's been the most difficult period throughout my career so far,” Brown admitted.
“I've been at the club now for six years. I've been through it all. I still enjoy the place, I grew up around here so Parramatta will always feel like home.
“Throughout this whole process I was saying to myself that I can only control what I can do, and that's turn up every day with a professional attitude and train hard.
“To play in a grand final means everything to me. It's a dream come true playing in a grand final and will mean everything to win one at Parramatta with this group of boys we've had together for a number of years.”
The Eels have advised Brown and his management that they can pay part of his salary should he secure another deal elsewhere for 2023. Though Wests Tigers are said to be interested, the man himself has just one focus at the moment.
“I try to play every game like it's my last, no matter the circumstances,” Brown said.
“I'm still contracted to Parramatta for next year but I know footy is a business these days. Everything happens for a reason. No matter where I end up I'll give it my all, just like I will on Sunday.”