Coach backs Wests deal

nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown says an agreement for the Wests League Club to take over ownership and operation of the Knights gives the Club a lot of credibility.

“Wests are a big organisation and from a recruitment point of view, when you’re talking to a player and his agent, they’re not so worried about what happened at the Club over the years,” Brown said.

“There is a number of times the Club has been close to going under but now there’s credibility and stability.”

Under the agreement, Wests have pledged to invest up to $10 million in a Centre of Excellence for the Knights with a commitment to grassroots Rugby League across the Hunter over the next five years.

The Knights coach believes the new deal will see a more financially stable Club which will help to retain and attract players.

“The Centre of Excellence gives a lot of credibility, when you’re trying to recruit players,” Brown explained.

“With a set up like Wests, it makes recruiting far easier so it will help with our junior development.

“We would like to think over the course of the journey, we’ll lose less young players.

“We won’t be able to keep everyone but with Wests support, I think we can have a system in place where we’ll lose some good players but we’ll always retain good players as well.”

Brown maintains he’s had the continued support of Wests Group CEO Philip Gardner in their vision for the Club.

“Phil was one of the people when I took over, that hired me as coach, Phil was on the (Knights) board,” added Brown.

“I spoke to Phil on a number of occasions so he’s very supportive of what we have done with the squad in the short term, while bringing a lot of juniors through and fixing up our salary cap situation.

“Phil knew where we were from the start so they are well informed with what we’re doing.”