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Why I've always had a soft spot for Nathan Brown

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8th August, 2020

Those of you who have read my previous articles will know that I’ve always had a soft spot for Nathan Brown.

When discussing my beloved Dragons and their current woes, particularly the ineptitude of current head coach Paul McGregor, I’ve always slipped Nathan’s name in as a possible alternative.

I first became a fan of Nathan in 1992 when he almost stole the Presidents Cup grand final away from Wests when he came on late as an 18-year-old. Long, flowing blond hair, he looked more like a surfer than a rugby league player.

Interestingly, the best player for Western Suburbs that day was Stephen Kearney. Seams the rugby league gods do have a sense of humour.

Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown.

Nathan Brown (Tony Feder/Getty Images)

AFter parting company with Newcastle in 2019 Brown picked up a consulting role with the Warriors, so he was well placed to see what state the club was in before formally applying for the job. There were reports that the job was offered to current interim coach Tod Payton, but apparently Tod prefers the warmer weather of Townsville and is after the Cowboys role. I’m not sure if this report was ever verified by the Warriors, but it’s irrelevant now.

Brown has a three-year deal to turn the Warriors back into a competitive threat. He’s on the record saying he didn’t want his next coaching role to be another rebuild. So does this mean he believes the Warriors already have the pieces in place, or will this be yet another rebuild for him?

Time will tell.


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But to my frustration Brown is quoted in today’s media that his first recruitment target is Jack de Belin should he be available for the 2021 season.

De Belin’s legal situation is a little complicated, but Judge Andrew Haesler will be handing down his ruling on the pre-trial hearing on 28 August. Should this ruling be in Jack’s favour, he’ll be free to play the final three games of 2020. Should the decision go against him, the matter will go to trial in November.


In a meeting with club officials a couple of weeks ago De Belin said he would consider any offer from the Dragons.

Now, shouldn’t there be some loyalty and gratitude from De Belin? The club has paid his $595,000 salary for two years. They have never sought to replace him by claiming salary can dispensation; the club has kept his spot open should he become available.

De Belin has been training with the team for the past two years. What more support could the Dragons have offered?

If Jack were to turn around and leave the club, he would owe so much to it would be the worst betrayal since Gorden Tallis sat out the 1996 season and cost the Saints a premiership.

Well, good luck Nathan in New Zealand. I hope it goes well, but please keep your hands off Jack de Belin!