Three-time Premiership winner Jonathan Brown was a model of courage and professionalism on and off the field throughout his career at the Brisbane Lions.
Aside from his hat-trick of Premiership Medals, Brown was Brisbane’s leading goal kicker five times, a club Best & Fairest winner and the league’s Most Courageous Player on three occasions, a dual All-Australian and AFL Players’ Association Best Captain winner and a Coleman Medallist in 2007.
Quite the list of accolades – one that’s only added to when you consider Life Member Brown was Captain of the Lions during their re-build from 2007-13 after the glory years under Leigh Matthews.
“he’s a very loyal man who doesn’t want to do the wrong thing by people.” – Justin Leppitsch
Off the field, Brown has been an ambassador for several causes and foundations throughout his stellar 15-year career.
He’s had a strong hand in the growth of the game in Queensland with his clubs’ Lion Hearted Leaders program in many schools across the state, and a role with Greyhound Racing Victoria formed the ‘Go the Pink Dog’ campaign which contributed $500 to the McGrath Foundation each time a dog running from box eight won a race in Victoria or Tasmania for the month of January 2012.
His interest in cricket saw him become involved with the newly-formed Queensland Twenty20 franchise the Brisbane Heat and Brown has also been a positive representative for the environment and National Tree Day since 2012.
Brown’s retirement was the most bittersweet story of 2014 – following another heavy knock to the head and subsequent concussion, the champion forward sought professional advice before deciding the time had arrived to put his health and future with his family first and step aside from the game.
Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch was first to voice his farewell to a player respected by his peers, fans and media around the nation.
“The biggest thing I told Browny is ‘you don’t owe this footy club anything,’ he’s a very loyal man who doesn’t want to do the wrong thing by people. If the time’s now, the time’s now.”
After Brown announced his retirement, tributes flowed from all corners of Australia. That weekend, the young Lions beat eventual preliminary finalists North Melbourne and Brown was given a fitting send-off.
Brown was also a delegate for the AFL Players Association from 2006-10.
The 2014 Madden Medal winner will be announced on Friday, September 30.