End of an era as Brown retires

Jonathan Brown is an old school footballer.

His Warrnambool background seeps through in every conversation, every marking contest.

He doesn’t have a Twitter account and he drives a ginormous ute, more suited to that country life he came from, than the city one he now leads.

A player who started out as a talented forward with a temper problem and no touches, Brown has developed into one of the greatest forwards to play AFL, and one of the greatest personalities off field as well.

It speaks to his evolution as a person that Brown matured from a favourite of the tribunal, into the courageous leader of the Brisbane Lions.

Browny never lost his rough edge, whether it be through his broad drawling accent or his fearless, some might say reckless, attack at the football.

There are not many who could take Browny out, not an opponent, not a car, but ultimately his greatest strength became his football downfall.

When the 32 year-old’s face clipped Tomas Bugg against the Giants at the Gabba, those at the stadium felt the writing was on the wall for the veteran forward.

One clash too many, and finally Brown was forced to put his long-term health ahead of trying to get just one more game in, ironically finished by the same courage that was his trademark.

No fan, no teammate, no opponent, could begrudge Brown for that.

His commitment to Brisbane has been unwavering and over time he has become an icon of Australian football in Queensland.

Brown has been the benchmark for teammates and rising stars across the state for the last decade, with both skill and courage.

There are more 16s on the backs of Lions fans than any other number, an inspiration to the next generation.

That admiration speaks as much to his off-field persona as his on-field one, with Brown among the most revered in the Lions’ den.

His genuine passion for the game and the fans and his dry humour shone throughout his 15-year career, right up until his retirement press conference.

“You all might get to witness labour if I keep yapping on,” he joked.

256 games, 594 goals three premierships, three best and fairest awards, three-time recipient of the  Most Courageous Player, dual All-Australian – His career’s achievements read favourably, but the paper record does not convey the significant legacy that Brown has left on the Lions and Queensland footy.

Brown’s retirement marks a changing of the guard at the Gabba, the second last of the triple premiership players to bow out.

AFL Queensland would like to thank Jonathan Brown for his contribution to Australian football in Queensland, and the legacy that he has created for the next generation of players and fans in this state.

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