Inconsistent Brown has new motto: ‘Each game is important, no matter who you’re playing’
February 5, 2024
Heading into the 2024 NRL season, Parramatta Eels playmaker Dylan Brown has set just one personal goal: find a consistency within himself so he can leave an impact on every game he plays.
Brown admits he’s struggled to lift across the NRL season, and has found himself drifting out of hugely important matches in finals and on the international stage. Just take a look at the Pacific Championships at the end of 2023. The Eels star was barely visible in New Zealand’s first match against Australia in Melbourne, punching his passenger’s ticket as the Kangaroos claimed a 36-18 victory to head into the grand final the higher seed.
Less than a week later, Brown was pivotal in a historic 30-0 boilover. The victory, a lock-out against the Aussies, saw the Kiwis lift the Pacific Cup and walk away from the international competition the talk of the rugby league world. Brown went from one tackle break in 14 carries and not much else to talk of to five tackle breaks, two line-break assists, two try assists, two forced dropouts, and a starring role at the heart of the New Zealand attack that many credited for the landslide.
Brown knows he has to do better. His consistency, he says, is all that matters.
“That [has been] the issue,” Brown said as Parramatta’s preseason got underway. “It’s not what I’d done, it’s what I didn’t do. There’s things I’ve gotta sort out, in terms of staying in games and being present.”
He continued: “It’s a mental thing. I’ve just got to know the importance of every game because when it gets to round 25 and you look back—for example, last year we [the Eels] lost the first three, but then we went out and beat Penrith—each game is important, no matter who you’re playing.”
It goes beyond wanting to do it for himself too. The 23-year-old just signed a huge new contract with his NRL club that could run out as far as 2031 and that’s sitting on his mind. The Eels have shown so much faith in him, Brown explained, and it was a wake-call that he needs to pay that back each and every game he plays.
“Yeah, it’s taken me a while to realise that,” he said. “Even after my fourth year, I was sort of in a position where, if I was playing good, it helps the players around me.
“It’s almost a must now. I just signed a deal that’s sort of locked me in for a long time. So I’ve got stability there and I know I’m gonna be here for a long time. I take that seriously. I know I definitely wasn’t playing my best [in the past], yeah.
“I was consistently inconsistent,” he added. “So I’d have my good games and I’d also have bad games and you can’t really afford to do that in the NRL. I’m gonna work on being consistent this year.”