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Brown keen to lead Panthers

January 15, 2015 12:36:17 UK

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.

Lewis Brown is looking to take a leadership role with the Penrith Panthers, although he won’t be fazed if he isn’t handed a starting role by coach Ivan Cleary.

The New Zealand utility feels the Panthers, who are 9.00 to win the grand final, are well-placed to build on last year’s success, when they claimed a top-four finish.

After a successful year all-round for the 28-year-old, who played in the Kiwis’ successful Four Nations campaign, Brown feels the next step is for him to develop as a leader.

“In our squad we have great depth, and Penrith have always had great depth, but if I can bring anything to the team then hopefully I can bring more leadership and hit the ground running,” he said.

The Panthers have a number of bright young players Brown will look to help mentor, although some of them like Bryce Cartwright and Tyrone Peachey are level-headed enough to make their own decisions, he feels.

Being someone who can play in a variety of different roles – in the centre, back row and at hooker – Brown is well-placed to be selected.

But he added: “You have to do what’s right for the team and last year I played that No. 14 role coming off the bench and nowadays most people would say coming off the bench is just as important as starting and hopefully I can fill that role again this year.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Milford is set to make his Brisbane Broncos debut at the Auckland Nines.

The off-season recruit is likely to be named in an experimental squad for the two-day tournament which starts on 31st January. The 20-year-old is set to play alongside Alex Glenn and brothers Jayden and Kodi Nikorima.

Milford said: “I’m pretty excited about the tournament because I missed it last year. I enjoyed just watching it so now I want to be a part of it.”

The Broncos, who are 12.00 to win the Auckland Nines, will rest halfback Ben Hunt along with another new signing, Adam Blair.

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