Shaun Higgins and Collingwood’s Taylor Adams have leapt to the defence of Ben Brown, claiming Brendon Goddard’s comments about the star forward were “harsh”.

“Brendon’s comments are harsh because the free kicks, especially the marking contest free kicks, they’re there,” 25-year-old Adams said.

“Guys are going to try and take away Ben Brown’s biggest asset and that’s his athleticism, his ability to run and jump at the ball and create space in the air for himself.”

Goddard told Brown to “stand up and play like a man” after he received a free kick in a ruck contest and was paid other frees in two marking contests.

“They were strong words,” Higgins said.

“Browny has probably done what most players do and exaggerate the contest slightly … but that’s holding the man in a marking contest as clear as any marking contest that we’ve seen this year.

“He’s there to call the game but from Browny’s point of view, he normally just has a clear run and jump at the ball and is normally extremely hard to defend.”