Aidan Guerra says player wanted Nathan Brown to finish the year. Picture: Brett Costello
Aidan Guerra says player wanted Nathan Brown to finish the year. Picture: Brett Costello

‘No split, no divide’: Players wanted Brown to finish

NEWCASTLE players have denied suggestions of disharmony in the NRL squad after the dramatic exit of coach Nathan Brown.

Less than a week after announcing his decision to leave at season's end, Brown's four-year tenure at the club ended when he walked out on Tuesday.

It came just days after the Knights were embarrassed by almost 42 points by Wests Tigers, prompting speculation Brown had lost the dressing room.

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"The chat after the game probably made light, brought everything at the forefront of our minds," veteran Aidan Guerra said on Wednesday.

"A performance like that, obviously the coach is going to feel like maybe it is best for the club to go in a different way."

Brown is widely believed to have asked his team after the game whether they wanted him to remain as coach for the final two games of the regular season, against Gold Coast on Saturday and then Penrith.

Despite losing seven of their past eight games to sit three points outside the top eight in 11th spot, the Knights remarkably remain a chance of making the finals.

It’s been suggested there was a rift between the playing group and Brown. Picture: Tony Feder
It’s been suggested there was a rift between the playing group and Brown. Picture: Tony Feder

And Guerra, who is part of the team's leadership group, was of the belief that the decision had been made to finish their campaign together.

"We've had conversations with Browny since then and we thought, I thought, that the best thing for this club was for him to finish the season," he said.

"But for whatever reason, he felt like that wasn't the way... There was nobody pushing him out."

Another member of the club's leadership group, Jamie Buhrer, also rejected claims of a split amongst the players in favour of Brown.

"That's incorrect," he said.

"We're all unified as players in our role here and what we need to do.

"All this he-said, she-said, it's just not true. There's no split, no divide.

"We're in this together."

Kristian Woolf steps in as caretaker coach. Picture: Darren Pateman
Kristian Woolf steps in as caretaker coach. Picture: Darren Pateman

Assistant coach Kristian Woolf has been installed as caretaker for the final two games, including Saturday's final home game against the rock-bottom Titans.

The match also marks the traditional old boys' day for the club.

"All we can do is take the lessons that we've learnt off him and try and put them into place this week, because nothing's going to change," Guerra said.

"We couldn't do it for him last week so we've got to show that his tenure here wasn't in vain."

Less than a week after announcing he would leave the club at season's end, Brown quit on Tuesday amid speculation he had already lost the playing group.

"There was nobody pushing him out. All the conversations that I had that either involved Browny or were about Browny, it was our intention to finish the season with him," Guerra said on Wednesday.