ST Helens have confirmed one of the game’s worst-kept secrets: that Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown will be joining them next season on a three-year deal.
Brown to the Saints is a rumour that seems to have been around since last year, and it looked rock-solid from the moment the former Knowsley Road side pulled the plug on the reign of another Australian, Royce Simmons, a couple of weeks ago.
Since then, Saints have won two from two - smashing Leeds, then Warrington - under the tutelage of their legendary hooker Keiron Cunningham and youth development guru Mike Rush.
Intelligently, Saints have acted quickly to quell any uncertainty; Rush and Cunningham will keep the job until the end of the year, then Brown will come in.
And with Huddersfield having confirmed several weeks ago that Brown would be a departure from their club at the end of the season, with Paul Anderson stepping up from his assistant’s job, everything is now clear and above board.
It is obvious why St Helens were so keen to secure Brown.
At 38, he’s young; he knows the Super League competition; he’s got a track-record of promoting and developing young talent and at the same time has the experience of dealing with big names and big egos from his time at St George-Illawarra.
The only thing his CV lacks is a trophy. But presumably Saints feel that’s a box he is going to tick sooner rather than later, in much the same way Tony Smith did after leaving the Giants for Leeds.
The more interesting question is why Brown is going to Saints.
He’d already told Huddersfield he was leaving, obviously, but that was when everyone thought he was going back to Australia.
Now he’s staying, but joining a rival club.
The Giants issued a Press release that quoted their CEO as saying his “first reaction was to congratulate Nathan on securing such a prestigious position”.
Really? I think my first reaction would have been: Why aren’t you staying here?
The Giants are flying high on the league ladder, with a young side that is still developing. I find it hard to believe that Brown feels he has taken them anywhere near their maximum potential.
As ever, money is one possible explanation, but the Giants have hardly been shy to spend when they have needed to in the past.
So it is hard to avoid the feeling that, despite the two teams’ relative league positions, Brown still feels that in the long-term the better prospects are at Langtree Park.
Which shows that while the Giants have made stellar progress in recent seasons, they still have a long way to go to match the prestige of clubs like Leeds, Wigan and St Helens.