Man of the Match Nick Brown (Townsville Stingers) with QRL's Rob Moore - QRL U18 Mal Meninga Cup - Qld Final - Townsville Stingers V Norths Devils at Barlow Park, Cairns. Photo Maria Girgenti / Mapcap Photography
Man of the Match Nick Brown (Townsville Stingers) with QRL's Rob Moore - QRL U18 Mal Meninga Cup - Qld Final - Townsville Stingers V Norths Devils at Barlow Park, Cairns. Photo Maria Girgenti / Mapcap Photography Maria Girgenti / Mapcap Photography

Maryborough rugby league junior loving life in the tropics

HIS FIRST six months in Townsville proved to be a steep learning curve, but Maryborough Brothers product Nick Brown is starting to make an impression and thoroughly enjoying the ride.

Earlier this month the 17-year-old prop was named man of the match after a dominant display in Townsville Stingers' 22-18 victory over Norths Devils in the U18 Mal Meninga Cup grand final.

Still in the first year of his under-20 contract with NRL club North Queensland Cowboys, the 188cm and 105kg wrecking machine said the performance was long overdue.

"I hadn't been in good form and it hadn't started to click for me until that game," Brown said.

"My head just wasn't right in it I guess.

"I put too much pressure on myself sometimes.

"But it's been good to play with those sorts of players who are all talented and great players.

"I was a bit surprised when I got it (man of the match), but it makes you recognise that there are people out there watching you and want to see how you're going."

One of the most promising players to come out of the Fraser Coast in recent times, Brown boarded with Cowboys halfback Ray Thompson before Christmas until his parents Gary and Kellie and his two brothers shifted north to be with him.

While it was tough at first, the St Mary's College graduate said he has settled to life in Townsville as he juggles a footballer's schedule with studying a Bachelor of Education (secondary health and physical education and biology).

"I'm enjoying it," he said.

"There's obviously pressure to keep improving and to get better, but I'm enjoying it because this is what I want to do.

"Having my family up here makes it a lot easier."

The former U16 Queensland representative's goal for the remainder of the season is to don the Cowboys jersey and make his debut for the club's National Youth under-20 side.

Cowboys Youth coach Todd Wilson was a notable spectator at the Mal Meninga Cup grand final and will no doubt be casting his eyes over the Under 18 National Final at Townsville's 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday.

Brown's team the Stingers face New South Wales champions Sydney Roosters in one of the curtain raisers to the Cowboys-Roosters NRL showdown.

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm pumped to play," Brown said.