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Taunoa-Brown confident he can ease front-row headache

Jamayne Taunoa-Brown only expected to gain some experience when he went to the Warriors on a train-and-trial deal this summer but the hulking front-rower is ready to step up to first grade for the depleted side.

The Melbourne-born 23-year-old, who has been in the Storm and Knights systems, is on the cusp of a Telstra Premiership debut after fellow props Bunty Afoa and Jackson Frei suffered season-ending knee injuries and Sam Lisone was released to the Titans.

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Taunoa-Brown, promoted to the club's top 30 squad on a two-year contract after receiving a surprise Indigenous All Stars cap, and he's determined to make the most the opportunities ahead.

"I'm very excited. I was pretty happy to get called up into the top 30. At the start I went over with no guarantees. To get a contract, that's unreal," he told on Tuesday at the NSWRL season launch, where he represented the Warriors' Canterbury Cup side.

Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck declared before last weekend's 20-6 trial loss to the Wests Tigers that "the first big boy to put their hand up, they get the [NRL] shot." Taunoa-Brown reckons he's right in the mix.

"I thought I went well. Definitely a chance [for round one] with the injuries and that at the moment," said Taunoa-Brown, who spent last year with Norths Devils in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup.

Warriors' top five tries of 2019

"I've just got to keep working on my game and putting my best foot forward and I'll hopefully get an opportunity this year."

The 114-kilogram enforcer gained confidence from his All Stars performance, pumping out 88 metres and 28 tackles despite a 30-16 defeat to the Maori side.

"It was unreal, an unreal experience," said Taunoa-Brown, who is also a rapper under the stage name Yung Maynie.

"Just to play against the elite players of the game was a good learning experience. I took a lot out of it and I'm better for it," he said.

If he does get the nod to face Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 14, Taunoa-Brown won't overthink his role.

"I'll just go out there and do my job for the team, try to execute my job the best I can, whether that's just running hard or making my tackles," he said.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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