Melbourne forward Ben Brown says being dropped to the VFL earlier this year was exactly what he needed and he's thankful that he ended up as a premiership player at the Demons rather than collecting a wooden spoon with North Melbourne this year.
Brown was left stunned at the end of last season when told by the Kangaroos that he was no longer wanted.
The 28-year-old was traded to Melbourne but surgery on his troublesome left knee during the pre-season meant he got off to a rocky start at the Demons.
Brown broke into the senior side in round seven, but was axed after just three games.
It took him until round 17 to get another crack and he made the most of it to become a critical part of the Melbourne's charge to the flag.
Brown booted 3.2 in Saturday's 74-point grand final win over the Western Bulldogs before he said his long stint in the VFL earlier this year helped set him up for success.
"Footy is a funny game. You can ride the rollercoaster at times, and I had to do some work on not riding that rollercoaster quite as hard as I was," Brown told AAP.
"Having surgery midway through pre-season was not ideal, not the way I wanted to start at the club.
"I had to work through some stuff physically and mentally to get to the point where I could contribute to the team the way I wanted to.
"Going back to the VFL this year and being dropped was probably the best thing for me.
"I put some work into the way I was training and the way I was going about things on game day."
Brown booted 287 goals in 130 games for North Melbourne before becoming a victim of the club's list cleanout last year.
The Kangaroos won just four games in 2021 on the way to collecting the wooden spoon.
In contrast, Brown is now a premiership player.
But he doesn't hold any hard feelings towards North Melbourne.
"It's funny how the world works out. Footy can turn on a dime," Brown said.
"I've got so much to be thankful for being here, and also so much to be thankful for with the North Melbourne footy club as well, and what they did for me.
"I'm stoked to be part of this (Demons) group, I'm really thankful to the club for getting me here.
"It's an amazing feeling now.
"My wife (Hester) has been at home with the two kids for the last month. This medal is just as much hers as it is mine."