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Saints: Brown after Bennett?

There has been plenty of talk about the return of Nathan Brown in the past few days. The former Dragons coach quitting his post in the UK after good success and heading home for family reasons.

While Brown has confirmed he has no immediate employment plans or held discussions with any clubs, it seems the most likely scenario is the Dragons bringing Brown on to learn from Bennett and essentially take over after the completion of Bennett’s tenure in 2011.

While some suggested that the Cronulla Sharks could be a home for Brown, their officials have confirmed Ricky Stuart is staying put and Brown isn’t on the radar. Some said Brown might link with old mentor Brian Smith as an assistant over at the Roosters, but Bondi boss Steve Noyce shot the idea down – saying there are no plans for Nathan Brown at the Roosters.

What about Souths?

Some said that Brownie could take over from Lang, but that seems crazy talk – given Lang still has a year to run on his contract and he would have to fall off a cliff before being pushed out of Redfern before 2011.

That really only leaves the Dragons. Given that Brown has a long standing relationship with CEO Peter Doubst, the respect of Wayne Bennett and most importantly a repaired public image after success in the UK – everything points to a Brown revival after King Benny retires at the end of next year.

Doubst has admitted in the past he appointed Brown to the post of coach several years too early, power brokers at the Dragons were after Browns scalp years before he was asked to step down for Bennett. But time heals all wounds, Brown has improved his resume over in the UK achieving respect on both sides of the world.

Completing the picture, comments made by Bennett to reporters suggest he holds plenty of respect for Brown. With Bennett confirming he inherited an impressive structure at Kogarah and had admiration for what Brown had done prior. Bennett’s blessing would obviously be given, should Doubst and co want to bring Brown under his wing.

The other advantage is that Brown is older and would inherit a much younger team that would see him more as a ‘coach’ as opposed to a ‘mate’ as was the case in earlier years.

But while Brown might be the first choice after Bennett, St George Illawarra should be careful not to alienate upcoming assistant coach Steve Price.

A former Tigers pivot, Price has impressed many as a junior coach and has had the opportunity to learn from Bennett these past 18 months. Price has taken the reigns for trial games under Bennett and is seemingly almost ready to take the leap to the top job.

While Brown and Price are good mates, should the former return – it may force Price to look elsewhere for job to speed-up his movement into the first grade coaching ranks.