Unlikely captains Brooks and Brown ready to lead Manly

George Clarke |

If you went to a bookmaker a year ago, you would have got long odds on a combination of Luke Brooks and Nathan Brown co-captaining Manly together in 2024.

But fast forward 12 months and, with more than a dozen players sidelined through injury, suspension, or State of Origin commitments, the unlikely duo are set to lead the Sea Eagles into battle against South Sydney on Saturday.

In doing so they will follow in the footsteps of some giants of the game including Bob Fulton, Geoff Toovey, Jamie Lyon, Paul Vautin and current skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.

It caps a remarkable revival for the pair.

This time last year Brooks was still struggling to spark Wests Tigers after years of promise, while Brown’s career appeared at a crossroads after falling out of favour at Parramatta and struggling to adapt to life at the Sydney Roosters.

“It’s only going to be a week until ‘Chez’ gets back,” Brooks told AAP.

“It (leadership) is probably something that when I came over here, I didn’t have to worry about.

“It was refreshing but with the injuries we’ve had I’ve had to help out there and it’s something I’m looking forward to it.”

Brown arrived at Manly on a train-and-trial deal but did enough to impress Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold that there were more chapters to write in his NRL journey.

Nathan Brown.
Nathan Brown takes the ball up during Manly’s clash in round four against the Dragons. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Brooks moved from Concord to Brookvale for the chance to play without pressure and he has struck up a blossoming chemistry with Cherry-Evans.

Now Brooks has to do it without the regular Manly skipper by his side but he takes solace from the fact that alongside Brown he has been thrown into the furnace before.

“Me and Brownie, we played U20s at the Tigers together and made our NRL debuts together,” Brooks said.

“Now we’re here at Manly together and I love playing alongside him.

“He adds so much to our team both with the ball and in defence, Brownie still plays on that fine line and adds that aggression.

“He wants to come out of the line and put a big shot on and change the momentum.”

Brown has become a cult hero for his backfence carries from the kick-off and Brooks isn’t expecting his good mate to tone things down against the Rabbitohs.

“He has to do it now because the crowd is getting behind him so much,” Brooks said.

“He probably makes it harder for himself by running into six blokes but that’s the kind of tough player he is.”