THE war of words between Paul Gallen and Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has gone up a notch, with the Cronulla captain giving a brutal assessment of the Knights and Brown’s selective memory relating to drug bans.
Gallen started the butting of heads when news first emerged that Mitchell Pearce had signed with the Knights, writing a column for Sporting News stating the NSW halfback had put his rep career at risk by going to a club that was starting from such a low base.
It was a column that clearly aggravated Brown, who hit back the next day, telling NBN News the criticism was rich coming from Gallen given Cronulla had won a wooden spoon in 2014 and were “going nowhere” when ASADA ripped through the club with drug bans for a systematic peptide program.
Not the type to let criticism pass, Gallen followed up with a second column for Sporting News, accusing the coach of landing some low blows.
“ … for Brown to say that Cronulla four or five years ago were going nowhere and to bring the drugs issues up was a cheap shot coming from a first grade coach,” Gallen wrote.
“I’ve worked with Brown at Origin level and we have mutual friends in the Shire.
“And with former Cronulla officials and players having been involved with Newcastle during Brown’s time, he’d have a fair knowledge of what really happened at Cronulla all those years ago.
“So I think it’s a low blow for him to dredge all that up.
“And maybe Nathan conveniently forgot the Knights had a player suspended for drug use earlier this year.”
The player Gallen is clearly referring to with that backhanded remark is Jarrod Mullen, who earlier this year had his career ended by a four-year drug ban following a positive test to a banned steroid.
Mullen has since broken his silence on the suspension, saying he had sought treatment outside the Knights’ set-up for a hamstring injury, with the rogue physiotherapist injecting an amino acid, which resulted in the positive test.
Mullen claimed he was naive as opposed to a player intentionally seeking to break the rules to enhance his performance.
Gallen went on to claim the Knights had a long way to go before he could claim success for the club’s rebuild — far further than when the Sharks hit rock-bottom.
“As for Brown’s claims we were a club going nowhere not so long ago, let me remind him we’ve only missed the finals once in the past six years and won a premiership in that time,” Gallen wrote.
“Talking of clubs going nowhere, maybe three straight wooden spoons indicate that Newcastle are the ones treading water.
“Luckily for Brown, the only way is up from the bottom rung.”