Almanac Teams: Brown’s Browns

With Damian Balassone’s excellent team of Smiths, the challenge came out to assemble a team of Browns; a job for which I feel eminently qualified. After all, while it doesn’t happen so much these days, 25 years ago I did have to say ‘no, not that David Brown’ quite a bit on the phone (not so much in person given our stunning physical dissimilarities).


So here we go, a team of Browns drawn from the AFL and state leagues, preceding it. Given we trawl back a bit before living memory and across state borders, descriptions to follow.



Nathan Brown (Western Bulldogs, Richmond) – this Brown was a dangerous forward who could get plenty of the footy, kicking 349 goals in 219 games in the AFL. He also played seven International Rules games for Australia. Brown is also well known for the horrific leg break he suffered in 2005, at least partially attributed to the Docklands surface (along with Matthew Whelan landing on his leg), from which he never fully recovered.


Billy Brownless (Geelong) – an effective key position forward in perhaps Geelong’s most frustrating period, Brownless (yes, all names containing ‘Brown’ count) kicked 441 goals in his 198 games and donned the Big V six times. Could kick a footy.


Tom Brownlees (Geelong) – while we’re in Geelong, we’ll head back a bit earlier to Tom’s 116 game career from 1913 to 1922, earning selection ahead of his older brother Rupe. Slight and quick, ‘Tobler’ kicked 106 goals in that period.


Half Forwards

Gavin Brown (Collingwood) – courageous, strong, Gavin Brown had it all. Captaining Collingwood and his state, playing in the 1990 premiership, winning the B&F three times, gaining All Australian selection twice and inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2008. A Brown side without him would be blue.


Jonathan Brown (Brisbane) – courageous to a fault, this Brown drips footy pedigree, kicking 594 goals in his 256 games at the Lions. First picked.


Mark Browning (South Melbourne, Sydney) – Browning managed 251 games in his 13 seasons at the Swans, making the move with the club from Melbourne to Sydney. A genuine mid-sized utility, he won the Swans’ B&F in 1983 and the Simpson Medal in Victoria’s 23 point State of Origin win over WA in 1982. Following his VFL retirement, Browning played and coached a number of seasons in Tasmania.



Vin Brown (Carlton) – who else would we put on a wing but Stawell Gift finalist Vin Brown? He also played as a key defender and half back flanker in his 117 games at the club which saw him play in Carlton’s 1945 and 1947 premiership sides.


David Brown (Port Adelaide, Adelaide) – great name, that’s for sure. Brown was a more than useful midfielder for the Magpies, Crows, then Power, then Magpies across his 273 games of SANFL and AFL footy. Has the, presumably extremely rare, distinction of being in two teams’ inaugural AFL squads (Mark Mickan another that springs to mind).


Ron Brown (East Perth) – another name that may not be that familiar, Ron Brown played 114 games for East Perth between 1950 and 1956. He retired following his team’s victory in the 1956 WANFL Grand Final.


The West Australian, 6 Mar 1954 via Trove



Half Backs

Clinton Brown (Subiaco) – gee, WA is a fertile Brown breeding ground, isn’t it? In this case slightly more contemporary as Clinton plied his trade as a hard running utility for Subiaco in the 1980s, winning a couple of premierships along the way.


Leigh Brown (Fremantle, North Melbourne, Collingwood) – speaking of utilities, we have slotted Leigh in at centre half back in this team. A 2010 Collingwood premiership player, he was the second V/AFL player to play 50 games at three clubs.


Rod Brown (Swan Districts, Woodville, Subiaco) – another Western Australian, Rod also ventured across the border to spend some time at Woodville in his 196 games of state league footy.



Campbell Brown (Hawthorn, Gold Coast) – not necessarily the best off field, Mal’s lad was a hard nut defender on the field who reinvented himself as a forward pocket late in his career at the Gold Coast. Sadly, a small interaction with a teammate brought his 205 game career to a premature end. And we never heard of him again…


Nathan Brown (Collingwood, St Kilda) – what, again? This Nathan Brown is the key defender type, making the cut ahead of his twin, Mitch.


Luke Brown (Norwood, Adelaide) – Brown has had a consistent five seasons of football after taking over Michael Doughty’s role as dependable back pocket / most underrated player for the Crows. Week in, week out the durable one manages the best small forward the opposition has to offer. Brown also played in Norwood’s 2012 premiership side in the SANFL.



Norm Brown (Fitzroy) – this Brown was a ruckman of high repute in the 1970s who also did more than his fair share of coaching. As a player he won three consecutive Fitzroy B&Fs and as a coach he guided Port Melbourne to three VFA flags.


Colin Brown (West Adelaide) – one of West Adelaide’s finest players in the post-war period. Starting off life as a back pocket, Brown really hit his straps as a rover when Fos Williams moved to Port Adelaide (he wasn’t much chop anyway). Brown’s career covered some 234 games from 1946 to 1959 including a number of appearances for the state, some ending better than others.


News, 14 Jul 1953 via Trove


Billy Brown (Richmond) – despite a comparatively (in this company) svelte 130 games, Billy made his name for himself as Kevin Bartlett’s partner in crime in Richmond’s teams of the late 1960s, playing in two premierships.



Fraser Brown (Carlton) – was a more than useful servant for the club across 177 games. Probably best remembered for his match saving tackle in the 1999 preliminary final. If you must be remembered for something there are certainly worse things. Just ask John Wayne Bobbitt who was also known for his tackle.


Wally Brown (Swan Districts) – yet another Western Australian. This Wally played 136 games for Swan Districts from 1954 to 1962 as well as three for WA.


George “Chitter” Brown (East Fremantle, South Fremantle, Perth) – this Western Australian, whose career spanned World War I has an unfortunate association with death. This first came up when South Fremantle refused him a transfer to Perth because he had “played dead” in a game in the previous season (as far as I can try that means not trying). He eventually got his clearance but unfortunately that clearance got him as far as the battlefields of France as an artilleryman. It wasn’t long before rumours of his death reached WA shores, which fortunately proved to be untrue. The news was not so good for another Brown, however, if it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

The Daily News, 15 Jan 1917 via Trove


Nathan Brown (Melbourne) – “Nathan!”. “Which one?”. “Nathan Brown”. “Which one?” With one place left on the bench it just had to go to Melbourne’s Nathan Brown. If you want your child to have a footy career give them that name, even if you aren’t a Brown to start with.



Mal Brown (East Perth, Richmond, Claremont, South Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia) – Mal could easily get a guernsey as a player here, but he is also the most credentialed coach (unless we give the job to Fraser’s mum, Joyce), having coached East Perth and South Fremantle to premierships. I’m not sure if having his dad coaching the side would keep Campbell in line or not but it’s worth a try.


So there you have it – more Browns than Cleveland. Who did we miss?


About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Greg Brown, Essendon full-back 1965 Premiership team.

  2. James Lang says

    You could have the infamous WAFL hardman Mal Brown as coach Dave. Probably safer for the opposition to have him in the coaches box rather than playing

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hans from Hahndorf writes “Waddya got against Michael Braun?”

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Nice work Dave. Definitely not the footy version of Brown’s cows. Some top performers in this team.

    1979 Blues premiership player Peter Brown remembered for all the wrong reasons.

    Charlie Brown played 107 games for Collingwood between 1916-1923 including the 1917 flag against the then mighty Fitzroy.

  5. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the read and comments, folks? Good suggestion Colin, he could also be a commentator.

    Yep, he’s the coach, James.

    Good point, Swish/Hans. That would also include Neville Bruns for consideration, too. And Michael Marrone for the Brown soccer team.

  6. Dave Brown says

    Thanks Phil, Charlie Brown unlucky to miss. Had to look Peter up, doesn’t feature in my memory at all.

  7. Rulebook says

    Ron BROWN


    Guernsey Number: 14
    Career: 1934 to 1940
    NFC Games: 106
    NFC Goals: 417
    Debut: v West Adelaide (Norwood) 5th May 1934
    Finale: v South Adelaide (Norwood) 1st June 1940

    Leading Goalkicker: 1936, 1937, 1938
    South Australian Games: 1

    Ron Brown was recruited from the Norwood Union Football Club at the beginning of the 1934 season.

    Early in his career an article in the Advertiser described him in this way. “Ideally built for a rover, he fearlessly dashes in for the ball and extricates himself from crushes to dispose of the ball to advantage.”

    It was however as a forward that Ron Brown gained an outstanding reputation.

    In his first season he accumulated 57 goals and started a fearsome partnership with full forward, Bruce Schulz. For 6 consecutive seasons, from 1934 to 1939 the 2 amassed between them over 100 goals each and every year.

    On 3 occasions Brown was the leading goal kicker and in 1937 fell just 5 goals short of becoming Norwood’s first, goal kicking centurion. To this day he remains 4th on the list of Norwood’s leading goal scorers.

    The contrast between the 2 champions was marked. Schulz was a magnificent high mark capable of kicking accurately from prodigious distances. In a game against Glenelg in 1934 it was reported that Brown had, “battled determinedly for his 5 goals,” and a feature was when he scored with, “a clever running side kick off his boot.” In another game against Sturt in 1936 with seconds left, Brown burst from a pack and with, “great dash,” kicked the winning goal.

    Brown retired from Norwood early in the 1940 season but not altogether from football. This article appeared in the Advertiser on 21st July, 1944.

    “Ron Brown’s prowess as a rover and forward for Norwood will readily be remembered. On that account the following extract from a letter from Captain Ivor G. Paech somewhere up North will be of interest.”

    “Our team is doing remarkably well. In the last match Ron Brown, former Norwood forward, kicked 12 goals and was directly responsible for 3 others.”

    It appeared wherever Ron Brown went he took his brilliant goal sense with him

    B Ridge Feb 2013

    << Back

    ( had to add some Redlegs flavour Dave )

  8. Brownlow Medal worthy performance. Thanks DB2. Speaking of which Chas Brownlow deserves a place in the side. Played 12 seasons for the Pivotonians (Geelong) and captained them to the 1883 flag. Hid his identity with the name “Green” in his early years, as his stern father did not approve of his son wasting his time on “frivolous pursuits such as football”.
    The Louisville Lip (Kentucky based Knacker) Glenn Brownstein (a great mate of Yvette and her Saints) can write the club history.

  9. “two of East Perth’s most useful footballers…” Great descriptor!

    Well played, Browny. I reckon Joyce would have been a most worthy coach.

    And Charlie Brown…he would be so keen that he would play for peanuts.

  10. Lucas Garth says

    Alf Brown as media manager

  11. DBalassone says

    Great work Brownie. Might have the Smiths covered here.

    Murray Browne was very solid for the Woods in the ’84 finals.

  12. G’day Dave.

    Another Peter Brown who may be considered was the one who played for South Melbourne in the early 70’s. In their R 11 defeat to Richmond in 1972 he kicked half their goals. The other goal was kicked by a player who’d fit in the ‘wide brown land’ side, Robert Hay.

    Phil, why is Carlton / St Kilda’s Peter Brown remembered for all the wrong reasons?


  13. Ben Brown should only be considered when he loses the Sideshow Bob hairdo.

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Glen ! 1979 GF. Painful memory.

  15. Ta Phil.

    I remember going to the 79 GF. I went with a mate from high school. We had standing room tickets, but as he had Greek school that morning, it was after1pm when we arrived. The ground was chockas. We thought, and moved, quickly, PT’ing it back to Maidstone to watch the game in the lounge at my mothers house.

    What row was Harmes in when he knocked the ball back into play?


  16. Dave Brown says

    Yep, Rulebook, Ron would also be a worthy addition. At least Luke Brown’s in there.

    Good suggestions, PB.

    I’m not really familiar with Murray Browne, Damian but he could also fit into the wide Brown land team as a river description.

    If current form is anything to go by there’s a reasonable chance Ben will supplant Billy at ff regardless of do, Mickey.

  17. Jackie Lynch says

    Agreed Dave, if Big Ben Brown keeps on kicking them, he’s a lock for Brown’s Browns. Loved this. It’s inspired me to make an Emma-Kate team of AFLW stars!

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