AFL Round 15 – Brisbane v North Melbourne: This one’s for you Browny

This week for me has been all about Jonathan Brown’s retirement. I knew that the time would eventually come but as I clicked onto the Brisbane Lions website at lunchtime on Monday I see the news that big Johnno had decided to hang up the boots. I was in disbelief. It was all surreal. After fifteen years one of my favourite Brisbane Lion players would not run out onto the ground any more. As the week progressed I would read every article about Browny’s retirement and watch every highlight package that was put together. I guess it was all part of my grieving process, that this lovable great would no longer done the number 16 Lions guernsey again.

Tonight the Lions take on North Melbourne in what will Browny’s farewell match. He will not be playing but instead be given a lap of honour at half time and then a presentation at the end of the game. Will the young and experienced Lions have the motivation to see one of their greatest players out with a win against the sometimes brilliant but erractic Kangaroos?

As the Lions run out I sit still in disbelief that there is no number 16 running out onto the ground with that presence that Browny had. It will be something that will take quite a while to get use to. Instead he is sitting up in what looks like a type of corporate box next to his old premiership team mate Tim Notting hoping that the Lions can win without him.

On the field the match starts as the form guide would suggest, with the Kangaroos on top, peppering the goals on a regular basis. Luckily for the Lions their kicking boots are not on and they register 2.4 before the Lions have really entered the forward line. The quarter continues with the Lions trying hard but lacking the skills and winners that the Kangaroos have got and as it gets close to the end of the quarter North are up by 22 points and the Lions have not yet scored. Is this going to be a repeat of last weeks debacle against Fremantle? Surely not the way to farewell Browny. Finally with only a couple of minutes to go before the end of the quarter Green crumbs a ball from a contest in the pocket and the Lions get their first goal, but it is North that should be six goals in front.

The second quarter starts and the Lions look more hungry and want to run the footy more. North look like they are just going through the motions expecting to win. Within three minutes there are goals to Beams, Merrett and Aish and the Lions are in front. The Lions now have lots of time and space as they run (especially Hanley and Zorko), tackle and compete harder than the Roos. Further goals to Aish and Green (twice) and the Lions have kicked seven for the quarter and go into the halftime break 21 points up. The Lions have simply out-worked North Melbourne, who have had no answers to this second-quarter onslaught from Brisbane.

At half time it is time for the Brisbane Lions (and all) supporters to thank Jonathan Brown. As he walks around the ground with his daughter and son (and the Brisbane mascot who I cannot understand why he is there) the crowd are on their feet. It is a standing ovation as they hold up the “Thanks Browny” placards. He is the people’s player. The bloke that even though he is an AFL superstar would still have a chat with you over a beer on a winter’s afternoon if you ran into him at the local. He will be sadly missed, not only for his football ability but also because he is one of the last true characters of our game. The rain may have started falling but that has not dampened the farewell of this champion.

The rain continues to fall on the Gabba causing the start of the third quarter to be a scrappy affair with neither side able to make any scoreboard impact. Then within two minutes Beams and the Michael Close who is future of the Lions forward line now Brown has retired each score a goal and it looks like the Lions have a match winning lead. The contest continues to be what would be expected, with the rain nullifying each teams skill level. The Kangaroos get a couple of goals towards the end of the quarter but are still 20 points behind. Brisbane could cause an upset here and see Browny off in the best possible way.

The final term is gripping with the Lions camped inside their attacking half of the ground with little reward. They waste legitimate chances to put the game on ice by kicking points when all is needed is one or two goals. The Kangaroos are slowly decreasing the margin. Can the Lions hang on? It is hard to watch in my lounge room and as the camera shows a shot of Browny, he is on the edge of his seat as well. You could imagine that all he wants do is be out there to help get his teammates over the line. Then the Lions’ Matt Maguire makes a crucial error of slipping over which gift-wraps a goal to Lindsay Thomas and Brisbane’s lead is just five points. The Kangaroos blow a near-certain goal with two minutes left by Petrie choosing to pass rather than shoot for his fifth goal of the night. Bastinac misses as well.

With nine seconds to go debutant defender Daniel McStay goes to kick the ball out after Bastinac’s behind and steps over the line to add even more drama. I am anxious and Brown looks anxious as he watches from his private box. Somehow the Lions stop North from kicking the match-winner.

As the Lions players celebrate the victory, Browny walks out onto the ground and pumps his fist with a huge smile on his face. As he hugs the player you again appreciate the impact he has had on the Brisbane Lions football club. It was the perfect finish to a brilliant career. The club presents Browny with a special guernsey presentation but you can see that all he wants to do for one last time is sing the song with his team mates. That is exactly what happens, the big fellow in a suit, with his team mates around him belts out the Brisbane Lions song for the last time.

Thanks Browny. I will miss you. The team is going to miss you. You are a true legend of the club.

This one is definitely for you Browny.


BRISBANE LIONS 1.1 8.4 10.5 10.10 (70)

NORTH MELBOURNE 3.5 4.7 6.9 9.12 (66)


Goals: Brisbane Lions: J Green 3 C Beams 2 J Aish 2 D Merrett D Zorko M Close

North Melbourne: D Petrie 4 A Swallow 2 B Harvey L Thomas S Gibson
Best: Brisbane Lions: Hanley, Aish, Bewick, Taylor, Rockliff, Redden

North Melbourne: Petrie, Dal Santo, Gibson, Swallow, Harvey
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Craig Fleer, Andrew Stephens

Malarkey Votes:   3 P Hanley, 2 J Aish, 1 J Brown (for his inspiration)

Official Crowd: 15,862 at Gabba.

About Andrew Weiss

Andrew is one of the few Brisbane Lions supporters that lives in the Adelaide Hills. He still has bragging rights over any Crows or Port supporter by mentioning the back to back to back premierships the Lions achieved in 2001-2003. After playing for over a decade for the mighty Adelaide Lutheran Football Club better known as 'The Doggies' he now spends his Saturdays running around footy ovals as an umpire, getting abuse no matter what decision is made. Coaching is probably next on the agenda as his two sons have started to play the great game of AFL. Andrew is a sports fanatic who when not watching or reading about sport is teaching secondary students about Biology, Nutrition and Psychology.


  1. Peter Schumacher says

    I listened to the last quarter from Toronto with our son and his bemused Korean Canadian wife. What a finish. Brownie will be missed but I think that his time was up. All the same, in his prime he WAS Brisbane.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    We’ll done Andrew , Brown seems to be the quintessential good aussie bloke loved admired and respected by every 1 so glad the lions won for him and rapt that Aishy continues his improvement and hopefully be in front in the rising star . Hope the lions don’t have a massive let down as this week is a genuine 50 50 game with the correct attitude they are a huge chance

  3. Joe Moore says

    Well said Andrew. Browny is certainly one of my all-time favourite opposition players. A salt of the earth Aussie Bloke, who seems like everyone’s best mate and one hell of a footballer.

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