Let’s talk about Ben Brown

On the weekend, I realised that I have become immune to feelings of resentment and anger towards North Melbourne when losing close games.


That’s now five losses under a goal in 2017, with the margin’s combining to a total of 14 points.


Although painful, that’s footy. Sometimes, you just have to accept it.


For North Melbourne, 2017 is following a scarily familiar path to 2013: five games decided by less than a kick, and North lost them all. Their biggest losing margin just 38 points in that year; in 2017 just 43. So we aren’t getting belted, but we aren’t winning the close ones.


As a way of coping with the year, there’s been very little talk about the now and plenty of talk about the future.


Although the future may include the likes of Dustin Martin and Josh Kelly (although we aren’t building such a strong case for ourselves, failing to back up big dollars with big wins), there is one very certain star of the future already sporting the blue and white and giving fans something to cheer about.


His 30-step run up and wild curls are complemented by a sensational contested mark, agility and athleticism below his knees and more often than not, a straight kick through the big sticks.


At 24 years young, Ben Brown is becoming one of the most dangerous key forwards in the competition, and a vital piece in North’s future puzzle.


Let’s look at the numbers:

At the end of round 16, he sits fifth on the Coleman leaderboard (38 goals) and just five goals shy of the leader (Buddy Franklin with 43 goals). Not bad for a forward in a side not only out of the top 8, but sitting 17th and out of finals contention. The next forward from a bottom four side to feature on the leaderboard is Collingwood’s Alex Fasolo in equal 23rd (25 goals).


Just 70 games into his AFL career, Brown is the ‘least experienced’ of the top 10. He’s 15 games shy of Essendon’s Joe Daniher (85) and they make the only two in the top ten to have played under 100 games.


Brown’s also ranked 3rd in the league for marks inside 50 behind Jack Riewoldt and Buddy. He’s having some season.


Not only is he competing with the best in the league, he’s smashing his own records as well. Brown’s up on average disposals and goals but also handballs – currently third at North Melbourne in score assists behind Shaun Atley and Higgins.


And let’s not forget – Brown’s missed just six games since his debut in 2014 and North have lost every single one of them.


With Jarrad Waite restricted to just 8 games due to injury, Brown has thrived in his role as North’s go-to forward. He’s been North’s highest goal kicker in five games this season and equal highest on a couple more occasions.


He also should’ve been North’s match winner twice in the last three games.


First, against the Bulldogs in round 14 when Brown and the entire North’s faithful thought he kicked a goal to put North in front, but instead a free kick and eventual 50m penalty was paid. Two weeks later against Fremantle he kicked a goal which did put North in the lead late in the final term, however a fourth goal to Docker debutant Ryan Nyhuis set up Freo’s eventual win. Despite the final results, Brown stood up superbly under pressure – that’s a very difficult thing to do.


In a season full of focusing on the future and a constant reminder of the positives, you can’t deny Brown’s given Roo fans something to smile about. If his form continues on this path for the remainder of the season, he could be given a nod for All Australian nomination. And looking further ahead to the Syd Barker Medal, Brown could be a real chance to take home the award over Ben Cunnington, Luke McDonald and Captain Jack, who have all enjoyed great seasons.


While he has often been compared to Simpson’s character Sideshow Bob, he has taken centre stage at North this season and everyone is absolutely loving it.


Just thought his 2017 has been that good, it was worth talking about.



  1. Really good write up about Browny, Marnie. I loved him the second he appeared at the club and I have always been impressed by his hard work. He always loves a contest and has a bloody good pair of hands. His goal kicking accuracy is very impressive.
    It was clear to me years ago he was our main man up forward even with Petrie, Waite and Majak in the side. I honestly feel we can build a very good team around him. Hopefully we can get some good players in at the end of the season to help him out.
    I am happy we have a strong positive to come out of an otherwise ordinary season.

  2. I first saw Ben Brown running around for Werribee, down at Gellibrand Oval Williamstown.
    I thought “this bloke has something”… At that stage he wasn’t even on North’s list, but was drafted at the end of that year.

  3. I’m with you marnie, as a key forward, he is still young and only played about 60-70 games I think,and last week took some brilliant, strong marks against a tough Freo defence, showing that he will be a key for a long time. Wish he could reduce his run up to less than 100 metres though, last week, he took a mark, I went to buy a pie, came back and sat down and he was still in his run up…..(space for unconvincing laugh),but if he keeps getting the ball, that’s fine. Do believe he could be at the very least in the leadership group in the future.I would like to see it happen. Just needs to tidy up goal-kicking a little, but he’ll get there. Our future looks very good, we’re blooding a lot of young players now and that is exactly how you create depth. Our youngies look like they will be stars of the future. Neilson, Simpkin, Wagner, Clarke, Vickers-Willis, Hrovat, Wood, Wiliams, still very young, McDonald, Dumont, Mullet, still young, but a big improver,Preuss, Garner, and Atley now starting to have a big impact in games, we will be a major player in the next couple of years .Go Roos

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