With 2017 just around the corner there’s still a question mark over the fullback position for the nib Newcastle Knights heading into next season.
While a number of players in the squad are capable of playing at fullback, Brown has now narrowed the candidates down to just two.
“In the short term it’ll come down to either Dylan Phythian or Pete Mata’utia,” he told Knights TV.
“They’re both doing some really good stuff and the team has confidence in them, which is important.”
Phythian has less than 60 minutes of NRL experience under his belt but proved a tenacious competitor when he did get his opportunity.
He has also played plenty of fullback in the lower grades, while Mata’utia has spent the majority of his last few years out on the flanks.
“It’s Dylan’s first NRL pre-season, but he’s a very good competitor and his fitness levels are great,” Brown said of the 21-year-old, who recently re-signed with the Club for another year.
“Before we took him on full-time Craig Smith and Danny Buderus both said his fitness levels and ability to train were very strong.
“He’s also a real natural for the game.”
Mata’utia, on the other hand, is one of the Club’s more experienced players, having made 52 NRL appearances.
At 26 he’s moving into the prime of his career as well.
“Pete Mata’utia’s obviously got a fair bit more experience in the game… he’s been in full-time systems for a long time now,” Brown said.
“His experience at fullback is a little bit limited, as he’s spent most of his NRL career at wing or centre.”