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‘No regrets’ as kicker Brown leaves Sheffield Eagles to join York City Knights
Simon Brown has no regrets about leaving the new champions at the height of their success for a team at the bottom of the ladder – saying he will relish the challenge of lifting York City Knights out of the doldrums.
Stand-off Brown helped kick Sheffield to the Co-operative Championship title in a pulsating grand final victory over Featherstone on Sunday, playing a full part as the Eagles made history by becoming the first team to win these play-offs from fourth in the table.
It had been announced after their semi-final triumph, however, that he would be swapping South Yorkshire for North Yorkshire in the off-season – and it remains a move he is fully looking forward to, even though it means trading grand final glory-getters for wooden spoon winners who went through the entire campaign with only one league victory.
Brown is being joined in the switch to Huntington Stadium by fellow title titan Sam Scott, and is optimistic the pair can help York turn around their fortunes and reach the 2013 play-offs themselves.
“I’ve had none at all,” said the 23-year-old when asked if he had second thoughts about making the move.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and, with the players we’re signing, hopefully we will be challenging at the right end of the table.
“I want to get in the top six. If you manage that – look at us (Sheffield) – anything can happen. Nobody gave us a shout this year but if you believe in yourself, anything can happen.”
As for team-mate Scott, Brown reckoned he was a top acquisition, one of those second-rows that does so much of the dirty and unseen yet vital work in the pack.
“Sam is a great lad,” he said of the 22-year-old student international. “We’re quite close and it will be good to have him on board.
“If you don’t know the game you might not see him but if you do know the game you will see him a lot. He’s done very well for himself and he will go there and do even better.”
Sunday’s 20-16 triumph at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium avenged a heavy defeat to Featherstone in the final 12 months ago. Brown added: “It was a great way to sign off.
“I always said I wanted to finish at Sheffield on a high and that’s what we’ve done. I’ve had three great years there with one semi-final and two grand finals, and now this.”
Possibly a good sign for York is that Brown remained critical of his own performance on the day – despite the success. Usually a deadly goalkicker, Sheffield’s top points-scorer booted only two goals from five attempts, and thought he could have “played smarter” despite being a key organiser and field kicker in a gripping contest played in constant rain.
He said: “We’ve done it (reached a grand final) before and we knew what we had to do. Last year we were relieved to get to the final. This year there was belief we could win it. Featherstone are a quality team but we knew we had it in us. Personally I think I could have been a bit smarter, but semi-finals and finals are all about winning and that’s what we did.
“I’m now looking forward to working with Gary Thornton and looking forward to coming to York.”