IT TOOK until the last day of the AFL Trade Period, but Ben Brown is officially a Demon.
The key forward joined Melbourne on Thursday afternoon, in a deal that saw the Dees also land pick No.28 and North Melbourne’s Future Fourth Round selection, and part with pick No.26, No.33 and a Future Fourth Round selection (tied to Brisbane).
After nominating the Demons as his club of choice some 10 days ago, Brown was thrilled to finally be part of the red and blue.
“Obviously, it’s really exciting – it’s been a long time coming,” he said in his first press conference with the club.
“We were pretty confident that things would get done…and I’m pretty excited to get to the Dees.
“From the first meeting I had with them, only a couple of weeks ago now, they made me feel really welcome and really valued.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the Dees.”
The move comes after a challenging year for Brown, who was told by the Kangaroos to explore his options at season’s end.
With North declaring its plan of heading in a different direction, the 27-year-old was faced with a tough decision – one that he didn’t take lightly.
“It was always the intention, from as far back as anything, that we’d try and stay at North Melbourne,” Brown said.
“It was a bit of a process to get my head around that maybe that wasn’t going to be the case.
“I had always been grateful for the opportunity North Melbourne had given me – I had to go through four drafts before anyone would take a chance on me, so that definitely still sits with me.
“I’m going to look back over the last few years and I’ve made a few memories that will stick for me, and now it’s about making some more memories at a really exciting club.”
After seven seasons at Arden St, Brown is set to be a valuable addition to Melbourne’s forward line.
The Tasmanian-born footballer has kicked 287 majors across his 130-game career, and having admired some Demons from afar in recent years, he can’t wait to play his role in 2021.
“I do look at the club at a pretty exciting place to be,” Brown said.
“I think they’ve got some really exciting players that I’m really looking forward to meeting and starting to learn how each other plays.
“I’m just hoping that I can complement the really talented players they’ve already got at the club.
“I definitely have a lot of learning to do over this pre-season, but I’m really excited about just trying to fit in with those guys and trying to make a really good, positive impact.”
While his ability can’t be questioned, Brown did hit some hurdles in 2020.
He managed just nine games across the compromised season, with Round 10 being his last in the blue and white.
And while there’s been much talk about his game style, the natural talent is only looking to put his best foot forward and build on his form at the Dees.
“I’m going to try and embrace what I do really well,” Brown said.
“I’ve already met with Greg Stafford, who’s going to be the forwards coach at Melbourne and I’m really excited to work with him.
“Everyone’s looking to improve in various areas of their game, but I dispute that I’m one-dimensional.
“I think I’ve shown over a number of years that I can play the game in a variety of ways and make life pretty difficult for opposition defenders.
“I think the first thing I’ll be looking to do is try and learn from the guys that are at the club – getting used to a new game plan, a new way of going about things and a new way of training.
“I’m just really excited to get in there as soon as possible and get stuck into it.”