LEE GILMOUR last night insisted it was not Huddersfield Giants’ player-power that got coach Nathan Brown the sack.
Paul Anderson takes charge for the first time tomorrow as the troubled West Yorkshire club look to put a week of turmoil behind them when Wakefield Trinity Wildcats arrive at Galpharm Stadium.
On Sunday, Huddersfield were vanquished 33-6 in the Challenge Cup semi-final by Warrington Wolves, an eighth defeat in nine games.
Afterwards, Australian Brown took the unusual step of staggeringly conceding that he had changed both tactics and formation for the crucial contest at the behest of his disgruntled squad.
Giants, equally surprisingly to many, then announced on Monday they had relieved him of his duties and assistant Anderson, due to step up in November when Brown departed for St Helens, would take over with immediate effect.
One of the first acts he performed was to strip Kevin Brown of the captaincy and the former England stand-off, who leaves for Widnes at the end of the season and is nursing an ankle problem, may now have played his last game for the club.
Yesterday, Anderson also made Castleford Tigers’ back-row Brett Ferres his first signing on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Huddersfield, who were top of Super League early in May, have plummeted to seventh due to their woeful form and are clinging on to a play-off place.
Nathan Brown’s belief in playing his diminutive namesake at loose-forward – a tactic first utilised at the start of the season meaning Huddersfield effectively had three half-backs – was central to the squad’s concerns ahead of the semi-final.
They had just been annihilated 52-6 by lowly Castleford Tigers and he was switched back to stand-off for the Warrington game.
However, ex-Great Britain second-row Gilmour, pictured, maintains the players’ input into the decision was not the reason for the chief’s dismissal.
“I don’t think it had any effect on whether Nathan was going or not,” he told the Yorkshire Post.
“I’m guessing the board would have already had it in their mind that, if we lost that game, things were going to change.
“Players will have their opinions whether it was right or wrong for Nathan to speak out about it and put it back on the players.
“But, for me, what’s happened has happened and there’s no hard feelings.
“Before the Warrington game, as a group of players it was decided things weren’t going well and we weren’t happy with the style of football we were playing.
“It was working at the start of the year but when we got into that slump we thought we needed to get back into our old way with a forward actually playing at 13.
“I think that’s what we’ll see under Baloo (Anderson). That’s what he’s going to use next year anyway and it should make it a little easier for us now.”
Gilmour, 34, continued: “The defeat to Castleford summed it up. We had three ball-players – plus Luke (Robinson) who is not the biggest of hookers either – and it just meant it was hard to defend with four small men on the pitch all at one time.
“When you’re getting 50 points put on you, the first thing you have to do is look at your defence and beef your middle up.
“Baloo is a forward himself and a tough one. He’ll expect that bit more steel from us and that will be one of the big things he’ll emphasise.
“He’ll want his loose-forward to get on top of the opposition. We need to get back to doing that. If you want to win any game you have to see your forwards dominate.”
Gilmour, who Brown signed from St Helens in 2009, has nothing but praise for the departing coach who had done so much to revitalise a club which had been in the doldrums so long.
Gilmour said: “The lads were all disappointed to see our head coach leave.
“From the initial disappointment of not getting to Wembley, we then came in the next day to find Nathan Brown had been moved on by the club.
“For what he’s done for this club, from where it was when he started to now, Nathan deserves a lot of praise and thanks.
“But, the boys responded really well to to Baloo on Wednesday and now we’re all focused and ready to play how he wants us to play.”
With just seven regular rounds remaining, the hope is that his former St Helens team-mate can invigorate the failing Giants in time for the big push heading into the play-offs.