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We understand why North Melbourne traded Ben Brown after the 2020 season.
The Kangaroos knew they were beginning to rebuild, and letting Brown go would ultimately help promote their young front line.
Still, allowing him to leave and only get picks 26, 33 and a future fourth round in return could have been highway robbery for Melbourne.
Well, he just helped the Dees secure a premiership last season.
Brown’s unfortunate injury-riddled 2020 season has left many wondering if he could regain the form he once had at his old club. And even the start of his career in red and blue was not ideal.
A knee injury sidelined him for the first month of the season and then he was in and out of the team when he finally recovered.
North Melbourne great Wayne Carey has admitted the player has potentially finished at AFL level, writing in age in 2021 that he looked like a one trick pony.
We have to remember, however, what a good player Brown was at Roos.
He earned back-to-back second-place finishes in the Coleman Medal in 2018 and 2019, as well as a fourth-place finish in the 2017 season.
It’s important to note where North Melbourne finished on the scale in each of these seasons: 15th in 2017, then 9th in 2018, then 12th in 2019.
The fact that Brown was able to remain in the top five Coleman Medal forwards throughout those three seasons is quite remarkable.
Although the North Melbourne midfield consisted of Ben Cunnington, Shaun Higgins, Jed Anderson, Jack Ziebell and Jy Simpkin when Brown was still a Roo, Brown will have a much better serve leading the ball from the Demons midfield, Premier winner.
Melbourne’s ability to cause pandemonium for opposing defenses when locating a striker in the 50s with precise skill will play into Brown’s hands this season.
He was lucky he joined the Demons when he did, knowing that when Mark Williams joined the club he basically put together a basic kicking program, which helped the team to improve its elimination efficiency.
Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and the rest of the Melbourne midfield will have a big role in providing quality service when getting the ball ready, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the big forward.
His first Finals campaign in a Melbourne jumper saw the number 50 score six goals and of course three of those came in the Grand Final against the Bulldogs.
Just two weeks ago in training matches, we saw number 50 having a sack of five against his former club.
You can take what you want out of these less meaningful matches, but Brown was clean under his knees and scoring the Sherrin all the way.
This is something Demons fans should be excited about.
What about the fact that Brown’s pre-season has been ideal. No worries or serious injuries can give him the necessary boost to start and have a strong 2022 season.
The player has just told the media recently that he is the fittest he has ever been in his career ahead of the upcoming season.
Throughout pre-season, Melbourne Football Club almost promised their fans that they would come back to back and win another premiership on their hallowed ground at the MCG.
Their chaotic mark of footy, mixed with Brown’s ability to be a sharp shooter in front of goal, could well pay dividends for both sides.
Ben Brown has proven that persistence pays off, and such persistence could help him win his first Coleman Medal and be the first demon since David Neitz to win the prized goalscorer’s award.