Ben Brown's career at North Melbourne appears to be coming to an end after the AFL club confirmed they are willing to trade the full-forward.
The off-contract 27-year-old endured a tough 2020 campaign with loss of form and injuries resulting in just eight goals in nine games - after a career-high 64 goals last year.
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Brown is a four-times leading goalkicker for the Kangaroos with 287 majors in 130 games.
"It's not a decision we've made lightly as Ben has been a tremendous part of our club since 2014," GM football Brady Rawlings told North Media.
North won just one of their last 15 games this season with the club already announcing that 11 other players - including Majak Daw - would not be offered new contracts.
Brown's exit would be the most high-profile as coach Rhyce Shaw reshapes his list.
It's believed Brown rejected a new three-year deal from the Kangaroos earlier this year with the club now prepared to move on.
The decision to part with Brown nonetheless left the footy world gobsmacked.
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Discussing the surprise move on Fox Footy’s David King suggested either Brown himself, or his management, had miscalculated badly after knocking back the three-year deal tabled by North Melbourne earlier in the year.
“I‘m not sure whether Ben has got this totally wrong or his management group have got this wrong,” King said on AFL 360.
“I don‘t know how you can have a contract that has three years on it somewhere between 2.3 and 2.4 million dollars attached to that period and get to the end of the year and have nothing in front of you and now looking for another club.
North Melbourne offered Ben Brown a three-year deal north of $750,000 per season earlier in the year, and now he's been told to look for a job elsewhere.@sam_mcclure details the latest development on the out-of-favour Roo.#9FootyClassified | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/EphLHrWUFG— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) September 23, 2020
“Something‘s gone wrong here, either he‘s had a really bad read of what the Kangaroos had in front of him or he simply got out of alignment with what the rest of the AFL community are earning.
“To be in this situation I think is a disaster on all fronts, for Ben personally and for the team that‘s managing him.”
Over on Channel 9’s Footy Classified, former Saints and Dockers coach Ross Lyon was equally perplexed.
Lyon said the Kangaroos weren’t doing themselves any favours either, openly reducing the potential value they could get back in a trade for the star forward by openly admitting to rival clubs they the were looking to part ways.
“I think strategically as a club even if that’s what you thought. Why would you tell his manager ‘we don’t want you’ and put it to the marketplace? Lyon said.
“How are they going to get true value now? You don’t want him here. Even more staggering.”
With Australian Associated Press