The stigma surrounding Ben Brown is perplexing.
A touch over 12 months ago, Brown was supposedly robbed of a position in the All Australian team after yet another season with 60-plus majors.
Now in 2020, Brown has moved out of a team that appears to be leading the AFL in daily negative headlines but is still being overlooked by other clubs who, on one hand, are crying out for a key forward, and on the other, are denying his services.
Prior to this unparalleled season where he faced injuries and the well-documented omission from North Melbourne’s line-up, Brown had played 22 matches in four successive seasons.
A key forward who has kicked 189 goals in 66 matches and played the majority of seasons since his debut year in 2014 would usually be hot property for any club. Especially for a club who is embarking on the dark times that appear ahead for the Roos.
The accomplishment of kicking the most goals in the competition across three seasons is terrific in itself, but doing so at a club that hasn’t reached the eight in that time is even more impressive.
Collingwood have missed out on star spearheads Tom Lynch and Jeremy Cameron in recent seasons, but have confirmed a lack of interest in Brown.
The Pies haven’t had a Coleman Medallist since Brian Taylor in 1986 and are in desperate need for a key forward to get on the end of a glorious midfield, yet appear to be uninterested in Brown.
Collingwood fans last celebrated premiership glory in 2010 and were only one half of footy away a year later in 2011.
In both years, the Maggies had the ferociously powerful Travis Cloke as a daunting task for any defender.
While the black and white army fell a folklore-defining kick short in 2018, a reliable key forward would have changed that result.
Mason Cox’s heroics the week before all but proved what separates this side and an all-conquering dynasty.
The 27-year-old kicked more than 60 goals in 2017, 2018 and 2019. When those numbers are stacked up against the Collingwood modern era – who have made six grand finals since 2000 – only two times has a Magpie kicked over 60 with Cloke’s 69 in 2011 and 68 in 2013.
Is Ben Brown one-dimensional with his style of play? Yes, but none more so than the current option of Mason Cox.
If the service from North Melbourne is delivering 60-plus majors a year, imagine what the silky-smooth foot skills of Taylor Adams, Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom are going to result in.
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
North Melbourne’s trash could be the final piece in Collingwood’s chase for their record 16th premiership.