NEW Giants chief Nathan Brown will arrive in Huddersfield this weekend with a ringing endorsement from England’s World Cup coach Tony Smith.
The Australian duo were teammates at top NRL club St George Dragons in the early 1990s, Brown a promising hooker and half-back Smith coming to the end of his playing career.
Yet even though Brown was just starting out in the game, Smith had already spotted the 34-year-old’s potential as a future leader, both as a captain and a coach.
As a result, Smith wasn’t in the least bit surprised Brown went on to enjoy success as head coach at St George, and the former Giants chief is sure the new man will make an equally positive impact at the Galpharm.
“I played alongside Nathan at St George when he was starting out on his career and I was coming to the end of mine,” said Smith, who is preparing for Sunday’s World Cup showdown with the hosts in Melbourne.
“But it was pretty clear from an early age that Nathan was a very talented and astute player, who had an incredible amount to offer.
“He’s a good character and team person, and it came as no surprise to me that he has gone on to prove himself as a quality coach. The fact he became the youngest coach in the Australian NRL says it all. I know Huddersfield will have done their homework on prospective coaches and will believe that in Nathan they have got the best man for the job.”
Smith’s assistant with England at the World Cup is Bradford Bulls boss Steve McNamara, who was also a former teammate of both Smith and Brown at St George.
And he, too, believes the new Huddersfield head coach will help enhance the Super League competition in 2009.
“I know Nathan will be a rival Super League coach next season, but I’m still looking forward to meeting up with him,” said McNamara.
“He’s a great bloke, and when we played together for St George in the reserve grades I really enjoyed myself. On top of that, he’s got an amazing rugby league brain.
“Because he’s always been a surfer boy at heart, I think he’ll find it something of a culture shock in Huddersfield at first!
“But as a former Giants player, I’ve no doubt he’ll thoroughly enjoy himself at the club.”