The North Melbourne Football Club is under significant pressure after falling to their fourth loss in the first five rounds of the season.
Despite the loss and despite the heat and questions sure to follow, Kangaroos star Ben Brown provided a heartwarming reminder after the game that winning and losing isn’t everything.
Kangaroos full-forward Ben Brown was accompanied to the post-game press conference by his 14-year-old cousin Grace.
She proceeded to become the star of the show and a reminder of the importance of the Good Friday Appeal, which raised more than $18 million for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Grace, who was diagnosed with leukaemia as a child, battled the disease for years until she was finally cured earlier this year.
What the Good Friday Appeal is all about!
Ben Brown's cousin Grace beat Leukemia with help from the Royal Children's Hospital. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/a1N23rG71F
— AFL (@AFL) April 19, 2019
Proudly sitting next to her big cousin, Brown told assembled media about Grace’s story to remind viewers of the importance of the appeal.
“She fought that and you won, didn’t you Grace? And now you’re cured,” Brown said.
“The Royal Children’s Hospital did save her life so today is an amazing day for all of us but especially for us because they are the reason that Grace is still here with us today.”
Reporters gave Grace a round of applause after she introduced herself and thanked the doctors who had cared for her at the RCH.
The moving moment struck a chord with many fans online as well, including some of Brown’s AFL rivals.
Grace: a little fighter
Ben: a good man
— Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) April 19, 2019
— Adam Oxley (@oxy_4) April 19, 2019
Ugly cry happening here. Life is so much more than footy. You're a legend Grace, so glad you beat leukaemia. Ben, you are a wonderful human. ❤❤
— Jules 🖤💛❤🦁 (@julsie75) April 19, 2019
I’d say Ben Brown has bigger fish to fry after his football career. Grace was the star here but you can tell that Ben Browns personality is needed for bigger things.
— cfc1995 (@cfc1995blue) April 20, 2019
Pressure mounts for under-fire Brad Scott
Kangaroos fans came out in droves as 48,278 filled Docklands for the marquee match but the players were unable to back up last week’s win over Adelaide.
The Bombers exploded late in the second term to lead by 53 points at half-time before winning 17.14 (116) to 7.16 (58).
North proved wasteful in front of goal, nine different players recording behinds on the day.
But it was Scott, who led the Roos to a surprise ninth-place finish on the ladder last season, facing the brunt of the criticism.
Geelong great Cameron Ling hinted at problems in the coach’s box on the Channel 7 broadcast, pointing out the 10 first-round draft picks in the team.
“It’s not like they haven’t got talent and high-quality draftees,” Ling said.