Opinion: Saturday night was Brown’s greatest triumph

If a coach is going to leave a club, the best way to go is on his own terms and with a trophy in the cabinet.

And Nathan Brown did just that on Saturday night.

We all wondered whether the announcement just a week before the Grand Final that he was going to head home to Australia would damage Saints’ prospects in the Grand Final.

It didn’t, and Brown can leave with his head held very high indeed.

He hasn’t got a job to go back to, but I can’t imagine that he won’t soon have one.

I wouldn’t be too surprised, for example, if Nathan finds himself working alongside Laurie Daley coaching New South Wales next season.

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And here’s an extract from his comments to journalists after the match on Saturday, when he had a pop at my League Express colleague Garry Schofield.

Saints boss Nathan Brown. ©RLPhotos
Saints boss Nathan Brown. ©RLPhotos

“Garry Schofield said – and he was my favourite player when I was growing up – that our front row was basically useless and we only have two forwards, that’s what he said.

“But we got to where we got to because we’ve got a good forward pack. I can understand people not tipping us because our halves were very different. But to come out and say Wigan would beat us because we’ve only got two good forwards really shows some people don’t watch the game or understand what’s going on in today’s game, because Willie Manu, Sia Soliola, Louis McCarthy, they’re damn good players.

“Greg Richards and Luke Thompson, just turned 19, were by far two of the best forwards on the field tonight, and no one gave them a mention. They’re why I thought we had a good chance of winning.”

In last week’s League Express I warned that Wigan shouldn’t count their chickens and that Saints wouldn’t roll over meekly.

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I wrote, “My colleague Garry Schofield believes that Wigan will win easily on Saturday, but I’m not so sure. We all know that Saints have been missing some of their stars, but they’ve been out for so long that they’ve learned to play without them.”

And that turned out to be the crucial thing, along with the absence of Michael McIlorum for Wigan.

I always wonder whether it’s a good idea to leave an announcement about a leading player being unable to play until just before the game starts.

I can only imagine that the St Helens players would have been boosted considerably by the news that McIlorum wouldn’t play when it came out a few hours before the game.

McIlorum is a hard competitor who anyone would welcome not having to play against.

Saints showed in the first tackle of the game, when they deposited Dom Crosby on the floor in the shadow of his own posts, that they were up for it.
They refused to be intimidated.