NRLKnights coach Nathan Brown explains why he hit back at his Brisbane counterpart, Wayne Bennett.

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RETORT: Nathan BrownKNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown has indicated he would be willingto resolve his differences with Wayne Bennett after firing an extraordinarybroadside at the veteran Brisbane tactician.
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At the post-match press conference after Newcastle beat the Broncos 15-10 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday, Brown produced a stunning responseto condescending comments from Bennett 24 hours earlier.

Bennett, who coached the Knights from 2012 to 2014, said on Friday Brown had “done a good job there” but added: “We didn’t leave it in bad shape”.

Asked what Brown had done well, Bennett replied:“I’m not sure yet …well he unbuilt it, so I suppose if you unbuild it, the next thing you’ve got to do is rebuild it.

“That’s what he’s done. They’ve lost a lot of players in the last two years, three years, however long Nathan has been there.”

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Asked after the game how his “rebuild” was coming along, the usually diplomatic Brown responded with a statement that left some querying whether he had overstepped the mark.

“It’s a bit sad,” Brownsaid.

“The old fox, he’s won seven premierships, he’s coached for 30 years, and I ain’t ever publicly bagged Wayne or anyone. And then he comes and has a shot at me.

“I just don’t think he needs to behave like that.

“The reality is when Wayne came to town, if he thought with his big head rather than his little head, I wouldn’t have had to rebuild the joint.”

⚡️ “MIKE DROP: Nathan Brown sensationally fires back at Wayne Bennett.”https://t苏州夜场招聘/kBvcGPipnG

— Sam Rigney (@SamRigney) April 7, 2018Sports Sundaypanellist Peter Sterling said:“Whether he’s crossed the line with that comment, I don’t know…it’s very personal, but obviously Nathan Brown felt he’d been slighted and he was looking for a retort and he came back with one that was fairly memorable.”

Laurie Daley said on theSunday Footy Showthat Bennett had“left them [the Knights] in bad shape” and Brown was within his rights to object to the remarks Bennett made on Friday.

“You can’t be a head coach and be untouchable,” Daley said.“If you want to be make comments and be critical about people, you’ve got to expect it in return.”

Contacted by theNewcastle Heraldon Sunday and asked to elaborate on his comments, Brown said he felt enough had been said already.

“I just wish everyone was talking about the game, rather than what Wayne might have said, orwhat I said back,” he said.

In an interview with Triple M radio, Brown said he was“disappointed in myself” because the controversy had distracted from what he considered to be Newcastle’s best performance in his time at the helm.

“I was a bit hurt by the fact that Wayne publicly criticised me when I’ve taken a holistic approach up here to give the team and the town something long-term,” he said.

“I’ve never publicly criticised anyone for what went wrong up here.I just didn’t think it was warranted, that’s all. Whether I’ve said it wrong, the way it came out, I don’t know.”

Asked if he would he willing to“pick the phone up and have a conversation” with Bennett, Brown replied:“I’m always happy to have a conversation with anyone.”

The conflict between Bennett and Brown was unexpected because, in the past, they have expressed mutual respect for each other.

When he replaced Brown as head coach at St George Illawarra, Bennett told Fairfax Media:“IthinkNathanBrowndid a great job here.

“He got a lot of criticism, but I think he did a lot better job than people give him credit for.I walked into a club that wasn’t a basket case, I can tell you,andthat has helped enormously.”

Last year, after Brisbane beat Newcastle in round 19, Bennett suggested Knights officials needed to stick with Brown as their long-term coach.

“He’s done a lot of things right here I’ve got to assume,” Bennett said at the time.

“None of us are perfect, but Newcastle’s not going to solve their problems by bringing a new coach in…if Nathanstays at it, they [the Knights] stay at it, get a few more players in the clubanddon’t lose any more of their quality players then that’s the best chance they’ve got of turning it around.

“They can’t turn it around any other way.”

Brown is one of the few coaches with a dominant record against Bennett, having won 10 of their 15 clashes.

The NRL has indicated it will take no action over Brown’s comments.

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