<big>We can’t go back to Nathan Brown now</big>
James Phelps From: The Sunday Telegraph February 27, 2011 12:00AM
Nathan Brown. Picture: Tracee Lea Source: The Daily Telegraph
NATHAN Brown’s chances of a Kogarah homecoming have taken a battering, with St George Illawarra greats claiming the favourite son has blown his chance.
With Wayne Bennett odds-on to leave the St George Illawarra Dragons at the end of the year, former players said it would be a mistake to bring back Brown.
Instead, they called for the club to promote assistant coach Steve Price or hire former fullback Mick Potter.
Several off-contract coaches, including Tim Sheens, John Lang, Ricky Stuart, Daniel Anderson, Brown and Potter, will anxiously await Bennett’s next move.
Brown, who left the Dragons in 2008 to coach English Super League team Huddersfield, is on a short-list to replace Bennett.
“To me, Brown had a real good chance,” former Steelers great Rod Wishart said. “He had more of an opportunity than other clubs would have given him and I think it is time to give someone else a go.”
Brown failed to lead the Dragons to a grand final in his five-year stint as head coach.
He had one of the strongest rosters in rugby league, but many claimed he was too close to the players.
He has since taken Huddersfield to a Challenge Cup final, while Dragons CEO Peter Doust remains one of his closest confidants.
“I think they are better going off with someone fresh,” Brown’s former team-mate Shaun Timmins said.
"I don’t think they will want to go back there.
“He didn’t produce the goods when he was there and I can’t imagine they would run down that track again.”
Dragons immortal John Raper agreed.
“I don’t think Browny will ever come back,” Raper said. “Too much water has gone under the bridge.”
Club stalwart Brad Mackay said the club should look to bring back Potter.
“Mick was in line to get the job before Browny,” Mackay said. "I don’t know the bloke, but he is doing great things overseas. He would be the first coach I would sign up.
"I think Wayne wanted to come down to Sydney and do something for the game. He has got the club over the line, won the competition after just two years, and he can leave it for someone else.
“Steve Price is another I would consider. I know Wayne likes him.”
Wishart, who played 177 first-grade games for both Illawarra and the Dragons, said the club should overlook experienced coaches like Sheens, Lang and Stuart and instead blood new talent.
“I would like to see someone get an opportunity,” Wishart said. “Guys like Tim Sheens have a proven record, but it is good to see young blokes come up and he has been at the club for a while. I think Steve has been exposed to Wayne’s formula and he may be able to take a lot of that on board and keep the momentum rolling.”
Former Steelers captain Dean Schifilliti said the club may look to an experienced campaigner.
“I think they will want someone with experience and if Tim Sheens is on the market I reckon they will go that way,” Schifilliti said.
“Personally I would like to see some young people in the game. I lot of guys go overseas and it is hard for them to get back. There aren’t many jobs and it is hard to get back in, but I would like to see maybe a Price, a Potter or a [Michael] Maguire get the job.”
Raper endorsed Price, who will lead the Dragons into battle against Wigan tomorrow with Bennett absent.
“I like the coach’s assistant now,” Raper said.
“He has a great know- ledge of the game and is highly regarded. He would be my choice.”
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