IT WAS the day after April Fool’s Day – so there was no doubting it wasn’t a joke.
St Helens unveiled Nathan Brown as their new coach for the 2013 Super League season and followers of the Giants, who had assumed the 38-year-old Australian was heading for home when he ended his three-year stay with the club, were stunned he was staying on in England – but not with Huddersfield.
The move has led to just over three months of confusion as the man who created hope among the followers of the club from the birthplace of rugby league that they could once again be champions, now leaves the Giants earlier than expected.
And the final days of Brown’s reign – brought to an end as the club had agreed to an early release from his contract – were in stark contrast to what had gone before.
After pronouncing ‘sadness at the worst day in my coaching career’ after the Giants 52-6 Super League drubbing at Castleford Tigers, he followed that by admitting he had given the players their wish and changed tactics in the run up to last Sunday’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves.
The upshot was a 33-6 defeat and the Giants’ Wembley dream was shot to shreds as Brown revealed: “It certainly wasn’t my idea to freshen things up – basically, the players weren’t happy with how we were attacking, they were desperate to change.”
Turning the clock back to the day Brown committed to Saints, the Giants were top of Super League having just won 22-12 at Leeds Rhinos and, at that stage, would have been much fancied for a successful shot at the Challenge Cup – whoever stood in their way.
The Giants standing at the start of April this year was the logical progression of what Brown had been building since his arrival from NRL outfit St George Illawarra in July 2008, having signed a three-year contract.