6 September 2019

Anton Lienert-Brown joins 'A Few Good Men' podcast to talk Rugby World Cup, All Blacks environment and the mental side of pro sport

A Few Good Men Podcast- Anton Lienert-Brown

Leading into the All Blacks test against Tonga on September 7th, a test match where the New Zealand Rugby Union in partnership with Movember are for the first time in history holding 'A Moment Against Silence', in which the crowd will be encouraged to make as much noise as possible to support and encourage those struggling with mental health to speak up and turn around the recently revealed increasing number of suicides in New Zealand, and one of the highest in the world, the Movember team sat down for a chat with All Black midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown.

As the nation prepares for the Rugby World Cup and the All Blacks look to tighten the screws further in their bid to lift aloft the Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup trophy for a record 4th time and 3rd in a row, Movember New Zealand took the opportunity to catch up with All Black midfielder Anton Lienert Brown on a rare day off as he prepares for a physcial challenge against the Tongans, before the team then shifts their attention to a big first up game against one of the tournament favourites South Africa, in first round of pool play.  

Anton talks in depth to Movember Country Director Robert Dunne on all things rugby, from his early days, his dabble in rugby league, becoming a 1st XV sensation all the way to playing for the All Blacks.

Notably, Anton talks openly and honestly about his experiences so far, particualry highlighting some of the key moments that have shaped him, like his recruitment to the Waikato and Chiefs by All Blacks supercoach Wayne Smith,

“Hes such a respectful man, such a down to earth man, and I remember the first thing he did, he knocks on the door and he takes off his shoes before he comes inside…for someone who has a Samoan background, my dads Samoan, that sort of respect is massive.”

His debut for the All Blacks and what it meant to do the haka for the first time,

“I think when I did the haka, that’s when everything really hit. That was the most special moment for me, you sing the anthem, but to do the haka was just amazing. Every little kids done the haka growing up, and its something that’s special to New Zealand.”

Even setting a great example for New Zealanders by talking openly and honestly about his own mental health and how he's learnt to be the best version of himself, both on the field for the All Blacks and as a mate and brother, by building bridges between each part of his life, allowing him to switch off from footy when he's out of that environemnt and not carry performances into his daily life. 

“It made me into a rut, even if I did something good, it wasn’t good enough. About 3 years ago I sat down with Bert (Gilbert Enoka) and let him know how I felt, he said, what you need to do is have rugby Anton, brother Anton, friend Anton, you need to have these bridges.”

Even revealing he's at his best when hes enjoying his footy, when he's mentally in a really good place over trying to chase physcial perfection. 

“I remember at the point where I was my fittest, my strongest, my fastest, I was also my unhappiest.”

In the first episode of the second 'A Few Good Men' podcast series, 'Men of More Words', Anton Lienert-Brown reveals some inside stories of his journey that shaped him into becoming one of the best players in the world and a real look into what it is like being an All Black. 

To tune in to the A Few Good Men podcast series, click here.