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Wayne Carey: “Brown’s an MVP”

Heath O'Loughlin  August 3, 2017 6:43 PM

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Wayne Carey believes Ben Brown has grown enough in recent times to shoulder more of North’s load – and not just on the field.

Writing for The Age, the North great believes Brown is the type of player the club can build around for the future.

“There's no doubt he's enjoyed a breakout year in the absence of Drew Petrie, ensuring the Roos' decision to move on all of those veterans has been vindicated. Alongside skipper Jack Ziebell and defender Robbie Tarrant, he's comfortably one of the most important men at Arden Street,” Carey wrote.

Trailing Joe Daniher by just two goals in the race for the Coleman Medal, Brown is enjoying a breakout season.

“While he mightn't be spoken about in the same category, finishing as the AFL's leading goalkicker would be some achievement in a side that is sitting 17th on the ladder,” Carey added.

“While it's a bit early for the Roos to start looking for Brown too often, they should have it in the back of their minds come round 23. The big forward from Tassie might be a bit unfashionable with his curly red hair, but he's come a long way since being drafted.”

Overlooked in three straight Drafts before being slected with pick 47 in 2013, the 24-year-old’s development has been rapid according to Carey.

“Initially it looked like he might struggle with the pace and movement of AFL football, but he's now a really dangerous player and is arguably one of the best marks in the game along with West Coast's Jeremy McGovern.

“He has a great ability to meet the footy at its highest point, even when he's running full steam ahead towards the ball-carrier. That is not always easy to do, but when you can mark the footy out in front like he does it makes it almost impossible to defend.

“Overall Ben's a really efficient player, because when the ball is in his area he generally marks it and kicks truly. His set shot routine is as unique and recognisable as Matthew Lloyd throwing the grass in the air. But while Brown has a run up like Michael Holding, he still manages to convert like Tony Lockett or Jason Dunstall.”

Carey also impressed by Brown’s deadly accuracy and flexibility.

“Most importantly he runs in a straight line and kicks through the ball. So far this season he's booted 51.23 compared to Daniher's 53.31 and Buddy's 51.50.

“What's also exciting for North Melbourne fans is the fact that he still has plenty of upside, particularly next to another emerging player in Mason Wood. He's clearly worked on his agility and forward craft, but could still push up the ground to find the footy more often.

“Should the Roos climb up the ladder over the next few years as they continue to rebuild, expect his goalkicking tally to rise accordingly.”