Nathan Brown wants to move on from his beef with Wayne Bennett, after apologising for a spiteful retaliation against his fellow NRL coach.
Brown has expressed regret for including his Brisbane counterpart’s family in a sledge after Newcastle’s 15-10 NRL win over the Broncos.
Some argued Brown’s comments had been misinterpreted and instead referred to Bennett’s “football brain” but the coach appeared to confirm it was personal.
“We all become quite resilient. We cop our fair share over our journey but we dust off the next day and get on with it,” Brown told the Nine Network.
Knights coach Nathan Brown has taken aim at the man he replaced in Newcastle. (ABC News: Dan Cox)
“But the people who get affected the most I suppose are our families or people who are close to us.
“At the end of the day, I’ve spoken to Benny Ikin, I’ve spoken to Wayne. I’ve explained to both that my beef is with Wayne and not their loved ones.
“If I’ve offended anyone, I apologise.”
Brown, responding to Bennett’s claim he had “unbuilt” the Knights, said his rival should have been thinking “with his big head rather than his little head” during his time as coach of the club.
It was widely interpreted as a reference to the breakdown of Bennett’s 42-year marriage to former wife Trish and his relationship with partner Dale Cage, who he met while she was a staffer at the Knights.
Bennett has been widely criticised for the state he left the club in after he abruptly quit the Knights in 2014, with the side picking up three consecutive wooden spoons in the following years.
Brown has indicated his intention to shut down the matter ahead of their clash with the Storm on Friday.
Critics say Wayne Bennett left the Knights in a hole when he left in 2014. (AAP Image: Mick Tsikas)
“We move on and prepare for Melbourne now,” he said.
“I’m not going into it any more. As I’ve said, we had a chat and I put my point, why it happened. Wayne had his few things to say. As I said, it’s done now for me and we move on.
“I didn’t set out to offend anyone who was close to them, their family. I’ve passed that onto the two correct people who I feel I needed to talk to.”
Ikin, Bennett’s son-in-law, said Brown’s apology was welcome.
“The one thing I will say about Nathan Brown, when I was on the second tee at 6:40am on Sunday morning, I copped a phone call from the Newcastle Knights coach,” Ikin told Fox Sports.
“He rang to check to see how the rest of the family was doing and to pass on his apologies if he had offended anybody.
“It was not required but very well received and I think that speaks to the character of the man that is Nathan Brown.”