Nathan Brown has been charged with reviving the fortunes of the embattled Newcastle Knights after he was announced as the new coach of the NRL club on Thursday.
Brown takes over the top job in the Hunter from Rick Stone who was sacked earlier this season. Club legend Danny Buderus has been coaching the club in an interim capacity since Stone’s departure.
In a statement released late Thursday morning, the Knights’ football sub-committee, chaired by John Quayle and counting Matt Gidley, Mark Fitzgibbon and Philip Gardner as members, said it had made a recommendation that Brown “be appointed as head coach”.
“The club hopes to be in a position to make an official announcement next week once the board reviews this recommendation,” the statement read.
The Knights board is likely to simply rubber stamp that recommendation.
Earlier Knights chairman Brian McGuigan took to Newcastle’s Radio 2HD to confirm that former St George Illawarra mentor Brown was the club’s new coach starting in 2016.
“It is going to be Nathan Brown, we have to complete the contract but the board has spoken to many people and he has come out as the favourite because of his experience and having won premierships in the United Kingdom and the fact that he is so keen to do the job,” McGuigan said.
“We find him a very worthwhile candidate, his family is keen to come to Newcastle. He is at the time in his career where we have got a great deal of faith in him.”
The length of the term of former Dragons hooker Brown’s contract is yet to be confirmed by the Knights.
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire had been linked to the Newcastle job, but quashed those rumours on Wednesday when he said of the Rabbitohs: “This is the club that I really love and enjoy and that is where it is at, I’m staying”.
An assistant coach with the NSW State of Origin side, Brown coached the Dragons from 2003 to 2008.
The former NRL hooker then moved to the Super League in England where he coached Huddersfield Giants for four seasons before heading up St Helens and leading them to a grand final win last year.
RECORD OF NEW NEWCASTLE COACH NATHAN BROWN COACHING CAREER ST HELENS
Seasons 2013-14: 29 games, won 16, lost 12, drawn 1, 55 per cent win/loss.
Achievements: Won Super League title in 2014. HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS
Seasons 2009-12: 92 games, won 53, lost 38, drawn one, 58 per cent win/loss
Achievements: Challenge Cup final in 2009 ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA
Seasons: 2003-2008: 142 games, won 75, lost 67, 53 per cent win/loss record
Achievements: 2nd over regular season in 2005; preliminary finalists PLAYING CAREER St George/St George Illawarra