Plenty of intrigue and interest in Saints' opening day clash

St Helens Star: Nathan Brown Nathan Brown

THE Super League fixture planners must have had a smile on their faces when they decided to pair Saints with Nathan Brown’s old club in the opening weekend of February.

Although the two teams will meet in a pre-season friendly at Langtree Park in three weeks time, that will do nothing to take the edge off a game which has been made for the TV cameras.

Although Brown’s four year spell at the west Yorkshire club was largely successful, it ended with a shocking run of eight losses from ten matches which eventually resulted in him departing early.

Talking about the opener Brown said: “It is another game and one for the media to talk about.

“It is all about the theatre of sport – if it creates a bit of extra interest and extra watching then I suppose it is a good idea.

“My point of view and Huddersfield’s point of view is everyone will be going out there to achieve the same thing – win and perform well.

“Coaches change clubs and we all move on, but maintain some good relationships from our previous work. That’s how it is.”

Giants have former grand slam winning Saints prop Paul Anderson in charge assisted by Kieron Purtill.

Brown joined the Giants in 2009 and enjoyed a tremendous first year in England, guiding the Claret and Golds to third place in Super League and earning a shock Wembley appearance at Saints’ expense.

Giants remained a solid top end of the table side, characterised by some canny half back play and some real strike on the edges.

But most significant factor in Giants success was the way Brown instilled into his side a tackling technique that slowed down the opposition and bought the defence time to get their lines set.

The former St George Illawarra boss believes hard graft in that area can yield its rewards.

“I don’t call it wrestling - I call it tackle technique. We don’t have a swish-bang wrestling coach coming into St Helens, nor did we have one at Huddersfield.

“It is more just about tackle technique and there are no illegal tactics.

“We will try and do things a little bit better than the opposition because you get an advantage if you work harder in that area,” said Brown.

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