Nathan Brown highlights the differences between Super League and NRL

Nathan Brown

Former Super League and NRL head coach Nathan Brown has discussed the differences between the NRL and Super League for outside-backs and forwards. 

Brown, 49, says he had a lack of confidence in outside-backs making a successful switch from Super League to the NRL.

The former player began his coaching career at St George Illawarra Dragons in 2003. He went on to coach Huddersfield and St Helens in Super League. He then returned Down Under with Newcastle Knights and then New Zealand Warriors.

Brown resigned as the New Zealand Warriors head coach earlier this year.

The 2014 Grand Final winning coach was the latest guest on James Graham’s podcast. The pair discussed the differences between the NRL and Super League. 

Nathan Brown on differences between Super League and NRL

“What I found was there was a difference in the way it’s played in England and the way it’s refereed,” Brown said on the Bye Round Podcast with James Graham. 

“The biggest difference I found was, in my time there, when I was advising people about players coming to Australia, I could hang my hat on English forwards. But I didn’t have any confidence in English outside-backs. The game is so different. That’s where the big difference is for me. 

“The pace is different and the type of athlete and the challenges for backs in Australia is different.

“The challenge for the forwards in England is very different to here [Australia]. But it gets them ready to come to Australia and dominate.

“You watch a young English forward like yourself [James Graham], John Bateman, Sam Burgess and Elliott Whitehead, they all started playing first grade at 17. And in winter it’s a bit slow and tough and you get the sh** beat out of you.

“A young kid in Australia is playing S.G. Ball Cup, Matthews Cup or Under-20s. The young English forwards, they get a real tough grounding early on in their age group and if they come through that, you can bet they’re going to play good in the NRL.”

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About Josh McAllister 1909 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.


  1. always said the refereeing of the English game kills us. Too much interference, slowing the game for minor offences. Australian refs let the game flow and as such they are quicker, used to high intensity for long periods. Refs in the UK think we’ve gone to watch them.

  2. The NRL is so boring to watch, just 5 drives and a kick usually, or a set of 6 rigid predetermined plays by robots with no room for improvisation or randomness. I’d rather watch superleague anyday of the week

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