Vodafone Warriors players and staff will take heavy hearts into today’s clash against Cronulla-Sutherland after rallying in support of grieving head coach Nathan Brown this week.
Just minutes after the club’s loss to St George Illawarra nine days ago, Brown was told his brother Denny had passed away.
Apart from leaving their base for training, the Vodafone Warriors have been in lockdown in Terrigal on the Central Coast.
Assistant coaches Justin Morgan and Craig Hodges plus hooker Wayde Egan said everyone in the camp had been being doing all they could throughout the week to support Brown and his family.
Hodges and Brown are lifetime friends after growing up together in the New South Wales Northern Rivers region.
“Brownie has been outstanding during the week. He’s a great human and team and club man,” said Hodges.
“He definitely doesn’t try to make it about himself. He tries to make it as much business as usual for the club but I know 100 per cent that he’s had a lot of things going on behind the scenes. It has been a really emotional time for him as anyone would appreciate who has had a close relative or loved one pass away.
It has been a really emotional time for him as anyone would appreciate who has had a close relative or loved one pass away.Craig Hodges Vodafone Warriors assistant coach
“He’s worrying about his parents and he’s worried about how his Dad and the rest of the family is handling it.
“We’re in the bubble here so he can’t spend any time out of here with them to make sure they’re okay.
“There are a lot emotions for him but he has still done all the prep work that he’s needed to do in terms of watching video and preparing for training and the game against the Sharks.
“As a leader, even in his own time of heavy grief and sorrow, he has still stood up and led.”
Morgan said there was a desire across the team and staff to perform well against thee Sharks today to “put something on a smile” on Brown’s face.
“It’s been a tough week for him but he holds his emotions well,” said Morgan.
“It’s been great to see the players and staff rally around him. Obviously our thoughts have been with him, with his family and with his Dad especially.
“Everybody likes Brownie and wants to see him happy. He has been really focused at training this week but he has also given a lot of responsibility to the staff and the team to crack on with it.
“The best thing we can do is to perform well at training and then, more importantly, perform against the Sharks.
“He’s a quality human being. I’ve known him in excess of 20 years and everyone I’ve come across has always spoken glowingly about him. The best thing we can do is to get him two points, get him a win and that would put something of a smile on his face during a difficult time.”
I think the focus on footy has got his mind away from it to some extentWayde Egan Vodafone Warriors hooker
Egan said football commitments seemed to have helped Brown navigate the week.
“I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have heard that. He pretty much got the news straight after the game that his brother had passed away,’ he said.
“He seems to have handled it really well. I think the focus on footy has got his mind away from it to some extent.
“All the boys have rallied around him and everyone sent him messages on Saturday and Sunday telling him if he needed us we were there for them. It’s going to be a tough day for Brownie (today). We’re all feeling for him.”