SACKED Suns defender Campbell Brown’s decision to play one-off matches for country football, including in this region, does not feel right.
It reeks of trading in on his notoriety. A little like convicted felons trying to profit from their crime.
Before you pick up your pens or fire up the emails: yes, Brown’s hefty suspension record in the AFL still falls within parameters of being allowed to play country football; and no, he is not flaunting any rules by signing up for such feature matches.
But this is a guy that has made a name as a football hot-head, continually burning up with white line fever, and that would have been barred from country footy years ago had he amassed such a record in amateur ranks.
His AFL career was severed on a similar vein.
He was sacked from Gold Coast Suns in December, ending a 205-game AFL career, for breaking young teammate Steven May’s jaw outside a Los Angeles nightclub. Off-field scuffles are nothing new either.
Brown’s temperament is how most AFL fans know him.
Now he is going to make money from such fame.
Brown could generally be a nice guy and his intentions might be good.
Ballan’s senior coach Mark Williams won an AFL premiership alongside Brown with Hawthorn in 2008 and is reported to be a close friend.
We have to trust Williams’ judgement on this, should Brown line up for the Blues as planned on April 12.
Brown has a lot to offer the Blues from his experience and skill as a player and the Blues have every right to chase him.
His taking to the field will be great for the Blues’ gate and generate plenty of excitement about the league.
But Brown should not be offering his playing services.
Most fans will pack the game waiting to see Brown explode.
And this is where the whole appropriateness of Brown making big money from one-off games makes the whole issue murky.
Whether he likes it or not, Brown’s name exudes controversy when it comes to the football field.
His suspension record alone (28 games) backs this up.
Most fans will expect nothing less than something ugly on the field – and that is not a good thing, for competing teams or the league.
Unless Brown suddenly taps into a newly discovered on-field tolerance, how long or how much will it take for him to snap again?
White-line fever is hard to break. It will be tempting for country opposition to set him off, not just for their own glory stories, but because they are out their hungry to win premiership points for the team they represent week-in and week-out.
AFL suspension records are halved when a player reverts to amateur football in Victoria, so Brown falls two games short of a life-long ban.
He is walking a fine line – one more misdemeanour and he is out for life.
One-off games are fraught with such danger.
Brown has no ongoing ties with host clubs, his playing career is effectively over anyway and he can walk back to his AFL radio commitments relatively unscathed.
You could argue that buying in a controversial player
like Brendan Fevola is no different.
Fevola’s on-field issues were largely about his attitude,not a tribunal record littered with guilty verdicts for striking.
Fev does a great job on the country football scene, helping to build crowds and fund-raising opportunity, and his names for marking and goal-kicking brilliance – when on song – is what fans want to see.
He seems to have found his niche and it is great for country football.
Football has not been so great to Brown’s blood pressure.
It is time he step away from the field and find his niche elsewhere.