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Ben Brown signs contract extension

Nick Bowen - AFL.com.au  October 6, 2017 2:45 PM

PRESS PLAY above to watch the Ben Brown interview.

Ben Brown's emergence as one of competition's best key forwards has earned him a contract extension at North Melbourne until the end of 2020, and the big Roo believes he can still take his game to another level.

Brown, 24, was contracted for 2018, but North moved to re-sign him for another two years after his outstanding 2017 season, when he kicked 63 goals to finish third in the 2017 Coleman Medal and earn a spot in the 40-man All Australian squad.

Re-signing Brown before he came out of contract is a big coup for the Kangaroos.

The 200cm Tasmanian seamlessly stepped up after becoming the Roos' No.1 spearhead this year and would have attracted huge interest from rival clubs if he entered 2018 uncontracted.

But North can now confidently remodel its forward line around Brown over the next few seasons as it targets a leap back up the ladder.

Brown said he never really considered gauging interest from opposition clubs, and was "super excited" to re-sign with North so quickly.

"North was really keen to keep me on and I was really keen to stay. There was a lot of external noise but I never really considered (leaving). I'm really happy at North Melbourne and I'm really looking forward to staying around for a few more years," Brown said on Friday.

"It's a really exciting time for us. We've got young kids coming through and the next couple of years I think we should really be pushing up the ladder.

"I'm really looking forward to being part of that."

Brown said North's strong connection to his home state and the faith it showed drafting him as a mature-age recruit in 2013 were factors in his decision to re-sign, but suggested his "love" of the club was the overriding reason.

Since being drafted at pick No.47 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, Brown has kicked 154 goals in 77 games with the Kangaroos.

After topping North's goalkicking with 41 majors to finish 10th in the 2016 best and fairest award, Brown vaulted to third in this year's count, finishing narrowly behind winner Shaun Higgins and Ben Cunnington.

Brown was ranked third in the AFL for marks inside 50 (68) in 2017 and equal seventh for contested marks (43).

The Devonport product is confident, however, he still has considerable room for improvement.

"There are still plenty of weaknesses in my game and I know that within myself I can take my game to another level, and that's what I'm going to look to do over this pre-season and into 2018 and beyond," Brown said.

Brown said he had not done anything differently ahead of his breakout 2017, primarily attributing his season to experience and hard work.

But the forward also said his growing confidence in his left knee, which was reconstructed when he was a teenager, had helped.

"I didn't really feel anything in my knee at all this year, which was really good," he said.

"Having that confidence in my body was great, so if we can get a few other guys who struggled with injuries this year fit I think we'll be a real force to be reckoned with in 2018.

"I'm really excited to get into it."

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