Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Nathan Brown may have only been appointed head coach of the New Zealand Warriors less than two weeks ago, but that has not stopped him from already improving the club for next season.
After the announcement of his role as head coach, Brown announced he had five targets he wanted to sign for 2021.
These players were Euan Aitken, Kane Evans, Adam Elliot, Oliver Gildart and Jack De Belin.
Many coaches who publicly announce a list of talent they intend to sign, it’s rare for many of those pursuits to come to fruition.
Within two weeks Brown has signed both Euan Aitken and Kane Evans. Reports suggested Adam Elliot was close to signing with the club; however, the Bulldogs re-signed him in the end.
Jack De Belin is currently dealing with off-field issues, while it seems the Warriors are in a battle with the Bulldogs for Oliver Gildart.
It is looking like Brown has the Warriors headed in the right direction, and if things continue in this upward trend, it will be the second time the 47-year-old has taken aside with no real upside to relevance.
The Newcastle Knights were coming off of a wooden spoon year in 2015 when they brought in winning coach Nathan Brown to fix the club.
Brown informed the board at Newcastle that if given an appropriate amount of time, he could turn the Knights around, and he was right.
A tough season in 2016 saw Brown’s side win just one game and finish last for a second year running. While a last-placed finish awaited them again in 2017, this time the club won five games.
Big man on board 📝💙❤️💚
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) August 12, 2020
After salary cap space opened up at Newcastle, Brown showed the organisation what he could bring to the table, signing the likes of premiership winners Mitchell Pearce and Aiden Guerra, and the hottest young talent in Rugby League Kalyn Ponga.
Suddenly the Knights went from a consistent wooden spoon winner to a mid-table team in the space of 12 months, by finishing 11th in 2018.
They would finish in the same position in 2019, with Brown leaving the club before season’s end.
Fast forward to today and the Knights are 6th on the NRL ladder and look like they’ll play in their first finals series in seven years, with Brown signees Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga leading the way.
Although he isn’t at the club anymore, if not for Nathan Brown the Newcastle Knights would not be where they are today.
It’s now time to wait and see if he can have the same effect at the Warriors.