After the final siren in the 2016 Elimination Final, Ben Brown realised something was missing from his game.
The key forward had been held goalless by Crow defender Daniel Talia and was comprehensively beaten on a night to forget for the deflated Roos.
“That’s when I think he realised that to play on the best, you need a few more tricks,” North assistant coach Leigh Tudor commented.
“He knows he’s a marking player, and at the start he was lucky he had Drew [Petrie] with him and Drew was getting the best player.”
With Petrie moving to Perth, Tudor watched on as Brown stepped up to the plate in his absence and re-emerged as genuine superstar the following season.
“His evolution has been amazing,” Tudor told North Media.
“He knows he’s got to get better. Every six to eight weeks something changes in AFL, and he’s ahead of the game.
“He’s always seeing what’s next in the game, and he prepares for it.”
What will likely scare opposition defenders, is Tudor believes Brown’s best is yet to come.
“He keeps doing the right things, he’s always last on the track, he practices the right things all the time and he practices to get better.
“It’s just amazing how much work he puts into it.
“He studies the opposition, he studies the game and he just gives himself every chance to play well.
“His preparation is probably the key, and his forward thinking is one thing that holds him in good stead.”
Tudor, who has worked alongside some of the greats such as Lance Franklin, Wayne Carey and John Longmire, says Brown is player fans shouldn’t take for granted.
“He takes high marks, he’s a beautiful kick for goal, he’s got all the skills, but the number one thing is that he’s a competitor.
“I think the fans should enjoy watching Ben play for North, because he’s a part of a really good team that’s building.”
Brown, who was overlooked in three consecutive drafts, is now sitting second in the Coleman Medal race, but it comes as no surprise to forwards coach Leigh Tudor.
“At the start, I think he missed the draft and had a knee reconstruction, so he had a bit of bad luck early, but since he’s been here he’s been a workhorse.
“He spends his pre-seasons working on new ways to find the ball. Not just marking, but ground ball stuff and even his defensive pressure keeps on improving year on year.
“He’s a hard worker, he’s got a great routine and it’s a credit to him.”