Before reading this article, take a look at these two photos of Nathan Brown. The first from his early coaching days and the latter a more recent photo of the Dragons NRL coach. The National Rugby League will age a coach more quickly than the sauna technician at your local gym. Brown has felt the heat more than most in a baptism of fire at the helm of his Rugby League team.
Nathan Brown has probably been talked about more than he would have liked since joining the Dragons coaching ranks several years ago. A rookie coach moving into the hot seat at St George Illawarra; a team blessed by talent in the past decade or more but yet to reach the goal of an NRL premiership.
If Brown didn’t realise the pressure of the role he was stepping into, he found out pretty quickly. Calls for his head came thick, fast and early. A straight shooter, Nathan Brown probably made it harder for himself after the face slapping incident early in his coaching career and a few choice words after some games that saw him cop fines and become a media darling – as reporters always knew there was milage in a Nathan Brown interview.
But it seems all that is history now. Nothing short of winning the NRL Premiership in 2008 would see him be re-signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Off-contract at the end of this season, Dragons CEO Peter Doubst has been tasked with compiling a list of recruits for next seasons coaching role. In the past, Doubt who himself has been under pressure at times and the Dragons management have been patient with Brown and have shielded him through any rough waters. However, they have no doubt turned up the heat for the 2008 Rugby League season – with the coaching hitlist being compiled, ready for the club to act quickly in replacing coach Nathan Brown should things turn sour.
Possible replacements include current Storm and premiership-winning coach Craig Bellamy, Brisbane’s long term boss Wayne Bennett, St Helens and former Warriors and Eels mentor Daniel Anderson, North Queensland assistant Ian Millward, current Catalans’ Dragons and former Saint Mick Potter and another former Dragon in AIS coach Brian Johnson.
You can understand St George Illawarra Dragons management for being proactive, but surely they could have kept this under tighter wraps. As if the job of Nathan Brown and their NRL players isn’t already hard enough, days before their Round 1, 2008 kick-off against the Wests Tigers – they have the blow torch right up their rear ends.
Brownie and the boys will need all the luck they can get in this super tight competition; but the former hooker should take heart – even if he is booted from the Dragons, at least he can start growing his hair back and get through a week of his life without having to explain yet again how the Saints managed to lose a football game.