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Forgotten Star Confident He Can Bounce Back


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Ben Brown is prepared to earn his spot back in Melbourne’s best side in 2024 – and he could prove the answers to the Demons’ biggest problem. 

Since joining Simon Goodwin’s team at the end of 2020 Brown, hasn’t found his best football, with 30 goals in 2022 his best return. 

The 31-year-old key forward spent much of last year in the VFL and could only manage seven AFL appearances. A persistent knee concern has also played a role. 

But after off-season surgery, Brown says he’s feeling as good as ever. 

“I had a little cleanout on the knee about four weeks ago, so I’m still building back. I’m due to return in a couple of weeks which will be great,” he told SEN Tassie. 

“The aim for me this year is to try and get my body in the best place it can be. I am 31… but I’m definitely aiming to get back and playing the best footy I can. 

“My knee is the way it is and I’ve had issues with that ever since a young Jimmy Webster ran into me at UTas (University of Tasmania) Stadium years ago playing for the Tassie Mariners. 

“It’s one of those things with footy, everyone has their own little battles they go through with injury and those kind of things. At the end of the day, you put yourself out on the park and you’re just another one of the 22 players out there.”

Brown largely found himself stuck behind fellow talls Jacob Van Rooyen, Harrison Petty and Joel Smith as Melbourne scored the 5th most points across the 2023 home and away season. 

But as the Demons’ availability waned towards the end of the campaign, so too did their accuracy. Melbourne kicked 28 behinds across two narrow finals losses to Collingwood and Carlton to kick themselves out of finals. 

Brown is a proven goal kicker, having kicked over 60 goals in three consecutive seasons while at North Melbourne, each year at over 65 per cent accuracy. 

Bayley Fritsch was the Demons’ leading goal kicker in 2023, going at 60.3 per cent accuracy. 

“I’ve got to get myself to a point where I can really be competitive. I definitely think I’ve got some good footy to play this year,” Brown declared. 

“I’m definitely looking forward to it. I enjoying my footy at the moment as much as I ever have, which I think is a great mindset to be starting the year in, so I’m coming into it with the right attitude and really looking forward to the year. 

“Step one ticked, step two get the body right and get out on the field, I’m trying my best to get to that point.” 

Given his recent surgery, Brown is unlikely to be available for Melbourne's season-opening clash on Thursday March 7.

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11 minutes ago, DubDee said:

I wish he would get his body right but it’s very unlikely unfortunately 

If it happens it's a bonus.

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Love BB. Completed the last missing link in our team ahead of our triumphant flag year. Was one of my few favourite non-Dees players before he came across to us.  It would be absolutely massive for us if what he is relaying here is true. Finger crossed.

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Petty is struggling with injury, B Brown the same, TMac no idea why is training with the backs, Fullarton injured, Smith suspended, Jefferson a long way off, Schache is no good, our tall forward stocks are pretty lean.

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Ben Brown's mindset is not an issue. It's Step 2: Get the body right that is the trouble; it's a big step especially with one of the knees he has just never being able to remain ok for long enough.

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I am trying to read between the lines here. Im sure he has had an honest assessment of his injury by all the medicos and the club. We have no idea what that would be so can only go by his own assessment that he is feeling great and going to have another crack. 

Why would he be misleading the supporters? If his career was in doubt, would we expect him to tell us so? Does he think that by not trying or being available jeopardises his final year? Its such a confusing situation - i don't know what to believe. 

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21 minutes ago, Gawndy the Great said:

I am trying to read between the lines here. Im sure he has had an honest assessment of his injury by all the medicos and the club. We have no idea what that would be so can only go by his own assessment that he is feeling great and going to have another crack. 

Why would he be misleading the supporters? If his career was in doubt, would we expect him to tell us so? Does he think that by not trying or being available jeopardises his final year? Its such a confusing situation. 

I wouldn't waste any time trying to read between the lines. This is just every AFL players response when dealing with ongoing injury issues. I doubt any of them comment based on what supporters would think. When the response doesn't contain details such as timeframe or rehab program/plans then its likely just a week by week assessment to see how its going. He'd likely be getting follow up scans after the clean out over the next few weeks. Sounds like a wait-and-see.

He might be able to come back as depth at some point but I thought for most of the games he played last year he was actually more a liability in his inability to defend and when the ball hit the deck it was like he lost all battery power, slow and lethargic. His bread and butter was being able to gain separation off his man on the lead and in marking contests and he's lost that ability now. 

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He's doing everything he can to get back to his best, sometimes the body is a big hurdle but hoping he can clear it and have a positive impact on the pitch for us.  Hoping the big man can get on the field for at least half the season.

 

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Even in 2021 he struggled to get his knee/body right.  We got lucky that he was cherry ripe in time for finals and then played a vital role in our flag run.

Started ‘22 in brilliant touch, then missed a slab of games and struggled on return.  In the final against Brisbane, he could barely move.

His talent is still there, but his body won’t let him do the things he wants to do.  Fingers crossed we can get a few games out of him, but I’d be bowled over if it’s more than 10-12.

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The guy is doing his best to get back in the ones.  I wish him all the best.  He is a premiership winning forward, and if he does get his body right he could be a highly valuable addition to the fwd line. He would get the first or 2nd best defender, and still has inspector gadget marking arms that draw free kicks.

at worst, he helps our other forwards to be better.  

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14 minutes ago, TeamPlayedFine39 said:

Even in 2021 he struggled to get his knee/body right.  We got lucky that he was cherry ripe in time for finals and then played a vital role in our flag run.

Started ‘22 in brilliant touch, then missed a slab of games and struggled on return.  In the final against Brisbane, he could barely move.

His talent is still there, but his body won’t let him do the things he wants to do.  Fingers crossed we can get a few games out of him, but I’d be bowled over if it’s more than 10-12.

Pretty much identical year last year. Kicked 9 goals through the first three games, then went down with injury and struggled coming back through Casey and later in the senior side.

I do hope supporters and Ben are being realistic in regards to the possibility of being back to his 'best' looks like. I'll give benefit of the doubt that we're not talking about the old Ben Brown 5 years ago, kicking 60+ and playing three full 22 game seasons in a row. Somewhere half way would be fantastic but again as I mentioned above, I think he's becoming a liability these days with his inability to do much defensively.

 

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4 minutes ago, BDA said:

10-12 games is all we can reasonably expect from him. I reckon the best strategy is to nurse him through the season and try to have him available for the big games. 

The Snake Baker model.

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Love they guy but there's a lot of ifs, buts and maybes in that article. Will be crossing my fingers for him as we'll be flying as a team if we can keep him on the park this year. 

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Apparently the Pies are planning to play a faster brand of footy, GWS, Port, Carlton and the Lions to a point like the fast footy. 
 

I would personally rather play smart to a smaller fwd line than play a tall who has limited mobility for the sake of playing a tall. Really keen to see what McAdam brings, really keen to see both him and Kozi together deep in fwd 50. 
 

Some quick ball movement please.

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2 hours ago, BDA said:

10-12 games is all we can reasonably expect from him. I reckon the best strategy is to nurse him through the season and try to have him available for the big games. 

 

2 hours ago, binman said:

The Snake Baker model.

Snake Baker in '77 was enormous. As was Wade in '75. Wade could barely move come September and was as good as dropped after the prelim. He pleaded with Brasso to play. They hatched a plan. Brasso said he could play as long as he stayed in the goal square and didn't fly for the ball. Kicked 4 and Norf win their first flag.

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