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Sharks’ Brown ready to fill in for Maloney
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The Sharks will need a new five-eighth for Friday’s NRL clash against the Warriors after losing James Maloney for at least two weeks with a hand injury.

He’s played almost every position bar front-row, and Cronulla utility Fa’amanu Brown insists he is again ready to fill in for the injured James Maloney at five-eighth for the next fortnight.

In a blow to their top four hopes, the Sharks will be without Maloney for at least two weeks after he fractured his hand in last Friday’s win over South Sydney.

Brown has spent the past three NRL matches covering at hooker but could be moved again.

Both Brown and Jack Bird, who missed last week’s win over South Sydney with a sternum injury, spent time in the halves during a training session on Monday.

“I’m quite lucky just to be playing and I’m pretty grateful for wherever I get put at. Wherever it is, whether it’s five-eighth or hooker, or off the bench, I’m grateful,” Brown said on Monday.

The 22-year-old Brown has helped the Sharks remain on track for back-to-back premierships with solid performances in the No.9 over the past month.

Considered a playmaker in junior teams, it is a position that he could play permanently after signing with Canterbury for next season, who have yet to re-sign hooker Michael Lichaa.

Brown’s versatility comes in handy for coach Shane Flanagan, who has enjoyed the return of back-up hooker James Segeyaro for the past two matches.

“Over the last three weeks with big teams like Souths and Roosters especially, I’ve been quite strong up front and feel like I’m getting the confidence each week,” he said.

The fourth-placed Sharks are one of three teams on 28 points, two ahead of surging Manly and Parramatta in sixth and seventh spot respectively.

With six games remaining in the regular season, including road trips to Auckland, Brisbane and Townsville over the next month, Brown said it was crucial to finish in the top four.

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