Veteran Kevin Brown keen to make the most of looming Super League season
Former England half-back Kevin Brown will squeeze as much as he can out of his 19th season in Super League, just in case it proves to be his last.
The 36-year-old Salford playmaker, who played his junior rugby in St Helens and began his professional career as a teenager with Wigan in 2003, will be the oldest player in Super League in 2021, news which came as something of a shock to him.
“Apparently so,” he said. “I went from being young Kev to the oldest in the league. It’s something I’m sort of weirdly proud of and something I’m a bit gutted about.
“I don’t look the oldest and I feel great. I love competing, that’s all I’ve done since being five or six years old, so I’m going to squeeze as much as I can out of it because once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.”
Brown, who has not played since the Challenge Cup final in October, is now fully recovered from an ankle re-construction and eagerly looking forward to the Red Devils’ opening league game against champions St Helens in a fortnight’s time.
He played in that 17-16 Wembley defeat by Leeds despite snapping ligaments in his side’s semi-final victory over Warrington a fortnight earlier.
Strapping and pain-killing tablets helped Brown get through the game and he has no regrets about taking his place in the side.
“I was happy with my performance,” he said. “As long as I could get through the game pain-free and contribute, they were the only two reasons I would have regretted anything about the final.
“Obviously the result wasn’t ideal but sometimes you lose in sport. I didn’t let my team-mates down, which would have been the worst possible feeling because we didn’t have a half-back on the bench.
“I said to the coach I was fine and I got through the game. I was in a lot of pain at the back end but when you’re in a final it’s offset by the adrenalin.
“It was more after game I struggled to be fair. The hardest bit was travelling home on the train, with the ankle swelling up, but I’d do it again a thousand times if I had the chance.”
Brown, who has lost in the Cup final with four different clubs, is hoping to get another chance to break his duck in 2021 but has not ruled out playing on in 2022.
“I’m going to see how I am a few months into the season,” he said. “I’ll see how my form is and how the body is feeling.
“There’s a very good chance it could be my last. I’m out of contract at the end of the year but I’m still loving it.
“I’m loving training and I’m loving trying not to look the oldest in the league. I want to contribute every week, I want to be on the team sheet every week, I don’t want to be getting rested or dropped. All these little battles I’m playing in my own head I’m loving.
“One of the good things about the off season being so long is I could get fully fit and have a good pre-season. I’ve not missed a session in eight weeks.”