Brown: I should have left Giants sooner
9th January 2013
Former Huddersfield boss Nathan Brown admits he stayed on too long at the Giants as he waited to take up his new job with St Helens.
The 39-year-old Australian was appointed as the successor to Royce Simmons at Langtree Park last April but stayed on at the John Smith’s Stadium, intending to see out his fourth season with the Yorkshire club.
Huddersfield were top of Super League at the time of Saints’ announcement but shortly afterwards went on a downward spiral, and Brown parted company with them in the aftermath of a crushing Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Warrington Wolves in July.
Brown had guided the Giants to Wembley and to within 80 minutes of a maiden Grand Final appearance in his first three years in Super League, but they went on to finish seventh in 2012 under his successor Paul Anderson and were hammered 46-10 by Hull FC in the first round of the play-offs.
Brown admitted his mistake when he addressed his first press conference at St Helens since taking up a three-year contract.
“The reality is with European sport when you sign somewhere you generally go the next day, whether you’re a coach or a player,” he said.
“At the time I made my decision, my intentions were good to stay and the club’s intentions were good but it didn’t work out unfortunately.
“It wasn’t anyone’s fault. I probably should have left the next day but we all wanted it to work. It didn’t, so you shake hands and move on.”
With St Helens going well at the time under caretaker-coach Mike Rush, Brown took the opportunity to have an extended holiday back in Australia, where he was linked with a number of coaching vacancies in the National Rugby League.
“The ending was not what anyone wanted but we used the time well,” he said. “I hadn’t had a break for 10 years.
“We went back to Australia for five weeks and got to visit some people we hadn’t been able to see for a long while and had a really nice time.
“When my time at Huddersfield came to an end, I think St Helens had lost two games in 15 or 16 weeks and both were to Wigan, who at that stage were untouchable.
“They were going fine, they didn’t need me to come in. I’m not sure I would have brought anything to the table at that stage of the year and the break for me was probably good.
“You always get linked to jobs, it’s just the way it is. I was never not coming back to St Helens. We didn’t go anywhere or do any interviews anywhere.”
Brown has moved with his family to the Lancashire village of Eccleston, where he is a neighbour of Bradley Wiggins, but he will soon be renewing a few old acquaintances.
He will come up against his old club on Friday when they play his new team in a pre-season friendly at Langtree Park, just three weeks before they coincidentally do battle in the opening round of Super League VXIII.
“That will be a bit different for myself because in 20 years I have never opposed my former club,” he said. “I played for St George for 10 years and I coached there for six and then I came to England.
“I’m not sure what to expect but I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve got a great relationship with the people at Huddersfield. I still talk to the players and the coaches, there’s no hard feelings. It’s just sport, sometimes the rugs don’t fit any more.
“I want us to do well but I want Huddersfield to be just a bit worse than us, if that makes sense.
“If we were to come first and them come second, it would be an ideal result.”