TOOHEY'S NEWS | Only time will tell how long Nathan Brown has to turn the Newcastle Knights into a premiership force in the NRL

In the circus that is currently the NRL coaching merry-go-round, the irony is the coach with two wooden spoons and a third season among the also-rans on his resume is not even part of the conversation.

Nathan Brown’s name hasn’t featured at all in the cut-throat, almost daily debate surrounding the shaky futures of several coaches.

That’s partly because he has just signed a new contract with the Knights. But more than that, it’s because the people who will ultimately decide his future have faith in where he is taking the club and how he intends to get there. 

Significantly, he has been afforded time, which is a rarity in professional sport.

But how much time does Brown have and how long will this faith last?

This time next season, if the Knights aren’t in the top eight or at least seriously challenging, we may well find out.

Brown knows the deal. He knows the pressure will mount at some stage without continued improvement and results. Yet self-preservation doesn’t appear to be a motivation.

He continues to frustrate many fans by playing the waiting game with recruitment in the hope the right players will become available. 

Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown

He acknowledges it’s a risk for him because that right player may not materialise. But he’d rather take the gamble than adopt the quick fix and waste cap space by simply filling holes in the roster.

Ultimately, the success of Brown’s rebuild and his own longevity will largely hinge on his ability to get the best out of the players he has already put his faith in.

Then there’s the bigger challenge of changing a losing culture that’s been an ugly by-product of a club that has been mediocre at best for most of the past decade.

Succeed and the job is his for as long as he wants it. Fail and rest assured he becomes part of the conversation.

Cogger surgery

JACK Cogger may have played his final NRL game for the club with the Bulldogs-bound halfback finally set to go under the knife.

Cogger is due to have surgery within the next 10 days to have part of the tendon in his little finger removed, an injury he has carried for more than two months.

Jack Cogger

Jack Cogger

New addition

WHAT a week it has been for Knights rookie Pasami Saulo. Only a few days after making his NRL debut in Auckland, the 20-year-old prop became a dad for the second time. 

Movie thumbs-up

FORMER Sharks prop Jason Stevens’ movie Chasing Comets got the thumbs-up from Knights players who attended a special screening on Thursday night. “If an ex-frontrower can write and produce something that good, there’s hope for all footy players,” injured winger Nathan Ross quipped.

Jason and Bec Stevens with Beau Ryan

Jason and Bec Stevens with Beau Ryan

“Sleapy” awake to the needy

A THROAT cancer diagnosis nine years ago changed former South Newcastle player Peter Sleap’s life. But not as much as it has changed the lives of the 100’s of cancer sufferers “Sleapy” and his band of volunteers have helped ever since.

Out of his health scare and in appreciation of the support he received was born Sleapy’s Day and since its inception back in 2010, more than $600,000 has been raised by an ever-growing committee to help those in need of care and support.

Peter Sleap

Peter Sleap

It’s on again today at Townson Oval with a big crowd expected to support the charity and watch South Newcastle take on Central in what is the Lions’ Old Boys day with everyone invited back to Souths Leagues afterwards.

With outstanding sponsor support already, Sleapy is hoping to raise in the vicinity of $200,000. Get to the game and support a fantastic cause.

Changes afoot

WE are hearing some big changes are in the wings after Macquarie’s dramatic fall from grace In the Real NRL this season.

Coach Adam Bettridge will appoint Steve Kidd as his assistant and expect a broom through the playing ranks. 

Eagles let down by trophy snub

EDGEWORTH Eagles will be handed their Newcastle Premier League soccer premiership trophy immediately following their away game against Valentine tomorrow.

The shame of it is that it should have been presented a week ago.

As expected, the Eagles wrapped up their fourth straight title with a win over Lakes at home in front of a big crowd on Old Boys’ Day last Sunday.

Edgeworth coach Damian Zane with several Eagles players

Edgeworth coach Damian Zane with several Eagles players

But the occasion was let down by the fact no one from governing body Northern bothered to turn up with the trophy, as has been the case in previous years, despite a request being made.

With good reason, the club was left fuming.

Sam in demand

SEVERAL Newcastle Rugby League clubs, headed by Central and Kurri, are chasing the signature of former Knights and Penrith prop Sam Anderson.

Anderson, who came through the junior ranks at the Knights before playing a handful of NRL games for the Panthers, is returning home after a stint with Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup. The prop has captained the Dolphins and been a regular Queensland Residents rep. Incoming Central coach Phil Williams confirmed he has spoken to Anderson.

Sam Anderson playing for Penrith

Sam Anderson playing for Penrith