Parramatta Eels lock Nathan Brown.

Eels forward Nathan Brown refused to wallow in self-pity after the shattering setback of a ruptured pectoral in round one this season.

It would have been easy to curse the world following such rotten luck but Brown chose to see the good in the situation.

He stepped up his work with Parramatta's charity partner the Children's Hospital at Westmead - often dropping by on his days off - while making more appearances at club-organised events than anyone else.

Brown's commendable deeds to brighten others' lives have been recognised with a nomination for the 2019 Ken Stephen Medal.

"I was out for a few months with my pec, so I thought I'd spend my time wisely and help out as much as I could in the community," Brown told NRL.com.

"We've got a big fan base around the Parramatta area and I try to do as much as I possibly can to represent the club in the best way I can.

"I've had a close relationship with the Children's Hospital for a few years and to be an ambassador for such a great organisation is very pleasing."

Brown usually arrives at the hospital armed with Eels merchandise to give away and regularly brings another player or staff member along to visit the kids.

The workhorse lock's motivation is simple.

"To be a good bloke and be a good person, I guess," he said.

"Us NRL players, we have a good image where everyone, especially young kids, look up to us. We've got to use that image [positively].

"NRL players are normally in the headlines for the bad reasons but there are a lot of quality people involved in the game."

One experience with a hospital patient has particularly stuck with Brown and showed the 26-year-old just how powerful his profile can be.

"A fair few times a few of us went down to visit a kid who was a Parramatta fan. Ever since we visited him, he reported back [with updates on his health]," Brown said.

"He beat his [illness] and he was smiling ever since we visited. To hear that feedback, you get an idea of what you can do - especially in young kids' lives.

"You can't explain the feeling - you've got to do it to know the feeling. I didn't really know we could make that much of a difference. If you visit 50 kids and one gets better, it's awesome."

While Brown is renowned for his aggression on the paddock, teammate Brad Takairangi said his fearsome performances belie a caring interior.

Parramatta Eels lock Nathan Brown.
Parramatta Eels lock Nathan Brown. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"He's a softy teddy bear, to be honest, so it's great that he got nominated for the award," Takairangi said.

"Browny's awesome. A lot of his spare time he's going out to Westmead and spending time with the sick kids there."

Young playmaker Jaeman Salmon also raved about Brown's character.

"Browny's a great bloke. He's very switched-on on the footy field and off the field he's an even better bloke," Salmon said.

"He gives up a lot of his time for those sort of things at Westmead and the promotions we do."

 

The 2019 Ken Stephen Medal is proudly supported by wealth, property and well-being consultancy, One Solutions