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Huddersfield Giants coach Nathan Brown's column: On the RFL, accusations of 'cowardice', and Maguire's Rabbitohs move

After that fantastic win at Leeds and securing a first win at Headingley in 51 years, has it been a case of trying to keep the players’ feet on the ground at training this week?

Nathan Brown (620)

After that fantastic win at Leeds and securing a first win at Headingley in 51 years, has it been a case of trying to keep the players’ feet on the ground at training this week?

To a certain extent, yes.

The guys are definitely feeling pretty happy and confident at the moment.

But they all realise it’s hard work that’s got them to where they are now, and they also know that if we don’t keep working hard as a group, then you get yourselves in trouble, don’t you.

Everyone is entitled to feel reasonably happy about how they are going, but they all accept that as individuals and as a team we need to keep improving.

Do you think last Friday was the best so far?

It was definitely a good performance.

As we said in the build-up to the game, Leeds are still playing some dangerous footy, as the statistics show us.

They’ve been scoring a lot of points and a lot of tries, so to minimise them the way we did when they had plenty of opportunities against us was very pleasing to see.

On top of that, we also scored a fair number of points as well to go back to the top.

So, all in all, it was a good night.

Again, it was the team effort that held the key. But which individuals, if any, stood out for you?

Lots of people did really well, and we were hapy with the whole group, to be honest.

But I thought different people played really well for different reasons.

For instance, I thought Darrell Griffin probably had his best game for us this season, while the same could also be said of Graeme Horne and Shaun Lunt.

But I did feel everyone contributed on the night, and that’s the key to being a decent team.

You can’t play good teams and carry people who put in bad performances.

When you play the likes of Leeds and Warrington – which we obviously have in our last two games – you need all 17 to contribute to guarantee success, which was obviously the case.

If you’ve got three or four players off their game, the scoreboard can quickly change the other way.

You mention Graeme Horne there. Is it right to say he’s a bit of an unsung hero in the side?

There’s no question he’s an improving player, there’s no doubt about it, and he always makes a valuable contribution.

As I said, it was probably his best game for the club at Leeds the other night.

He’s learning something about himself and training, and I think his best years are ahead of him.

Horney’s a player we’re already thinking about keeping, because you always want to hold onto your good players.

Have the Rugby Football League been back in touch after your post-match comments?

No, I haven’t spoken to anyone there.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s done now. I’ve said my piece.

I made it perfectly clear on the night I’d like to see the half-backs looked after, and I didn’t just mean our own Kevin Brown, Danny Brough and Luke Robinson. I was just saying all the halves from every side in the competition deserve more protection from the officials.

They are generally much smaller than the rest of the players in the competition, they’re also the most important and there are the least number of them.

If you talk to any coach around the world, they’ll tell you that if you can get good halves, you’re doing well, and the best sides always have a full set.

Quality halves aren’t there in bucketloads and you can’t just keep pulling them off a tree, so those that are around need to be protected.

If one of your first-choice halves isn’t around, it makes life very difficult, as Leeds are finding at the moment without Danny Maguire.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott has accused the Giants of ‘cowardice’ and feigning injury as he launched a defence of his prop Ryan Bailey, who was sent off and subsequently banned for one game on Tuesday night. What did you think of those comments?

At the end of the day, Brian was just trying to look after his player ahead of his disciplinary appearance.

The one thing no-one at Huddersfield has challenged was Ryan Bailey’s integrity, in fact I made a point of stressing how well he’s been playing this season.

As I’ve already made perfectly clear, the comments on the night were more about everyone in the game rather than singling out one particular player. Ryan Bailey should be treated exaxctly the same as any other player.

But after these comments from Brian Mac I don’t think Leeds will be signing Kevin Brown, while he’s around, will they?

We all know Kev’s a terrific player, and one of the best things about club is that our 9, 7, 6 and 1 – Robinson, Brough, Brown and Scott Grix respectively – are our smallest players, but they’re as tough as anyone in the team.

We’re more than happy with Kev and how he plays. We wouldn’t change that at all.

Would you have been disappointed if Kev had picked up a ban for his part in the brawl that resulted in Bailey getting his suspension?

If he’d have picked up a ban we’d have accepted it, but we’re certainly very happy with the decision.

We can’t control what happens at a disciplinary hearing. The judiciary makes their decision and it’s up to us to adhere to it.

Everyone wants to have their best players available, especially those that play in the key positions, but we’re fortunate at the Giants that we’ve got more than adequate replacements to help us win games if the likes of Kev don’t play.

Finally, were you surprised by the news Wigan coach Michael Maguire was returning home to take over at South Sydney Rabbitohs?

It wasn’t a surprise to me.

Madge was probably unlucky not to get a job in the Australian NRL a couple of years ago.

But he came over to England with good credentials and will probably say he’s a better coach for the experience.

At the same time, Madge has obviously been good for Wigan as he helped them win Super League in his first season, and he’s also given the club an insight into what happens at Melbourne Storm (where he was assistant coach), which is a very well-run club.

I wish him the very best of luck and know he’ll go well at Souths.

 

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