Jonathan Brown

inducted 2011 Sports

About Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown is widely regarded as one of the game's most dominant players. The powerful centre-half forward and Club Captain's strength, skill and aggression has earned him the respect and admiration of the entire football community.

Jonathan Brown is the oldest of four children and boasts a strong football pedigree. His father Brian played 50 matches with Fitzroy while his uncles Noel Mugavin (Fitzroy and Richmond) and Billy Picken (Collingwood and Sydney) both enjoyed careers in the then VFL.

In 1993 he was a member of the State Primary School Football team that was successful in the Australian Championships in Wagga.

Involved in football at an early age, Jonathan made his senior debut with South Warrnambool as a 15 year-old in 1997 and moved onto the Geelong Falcons TAC Cup side by mid 1998 after establishing himself in the local leagues.

He won All-Australian honours representing Victorian Country at the 1999 national U18 carnival in Brisbane and shaped as a leading candidate in the National Draft.

Jonathan was also a promising cricketer. A left-arm fast bowler, he played A-grade cricket with Wesley CBC in Warrnambool and was invited to join the U17 Victorian squad in 1998 after performing well in the State championships.

Despite being touted as a potential top five selection in the 1999 AFL National Draft, Jonathan - a life-long Fitzroy supporter - had already committed himself to the Lions under the father/son rule which enabled the Club to secure him with their second round pick No.30. Despite failing to gather a possession in his senior debut for the Club in Round 5 of 2000 against Adelaide, Jonathan showed a sign of things to come by making a huge impact with the Lions in the latter half of the season.

Signalling his emergence, Jonathan took an impressive nine marks in his return match against Adelaide at Football Park in Round 20 while he produced further top quality games against St Kilda and Fremantle in the ensuing rounds. He finished the season with 13 matches for the season and kicked five goals.

By midway through his second season, Jonathan had become an important member of the Lions' side and was being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Wayne Carey and Dermott Brereton. He bagged seven goals against Geelong in Round 6 at the Gabba - and equal Club record at the time - and was among the best players against Essendon in Round 10 when he kicked three goals and set the tone with his trademark aggression and physical approach early. As a 19 year-old centre-half forward, he failed to miss a match all season and was the youngest man on the ground in the Lions' breakthrough premiership win against Essendon.

He topped off a magnificent season with two tight-angled goals in critical stages of the 2001 Grand Final which helped steer his side to victory. It came as no surprise that he received the Most Improved Player award at the Club Champion Dinner in October.

Jonathan's third season in the AFL was highlighted by a second premiership medal and the AFL's Mark of the Year award. In an inspiring act of courage, the powerful centre half-forward ran back with the flight of the ball and dove headfirst through a pack to take the ‘Mark of the Year' on his chest. Carlton legend Stephen Silvagni later described the mark as the best he had ever seen.

In 2003, despite missing a succession of matches with hamstring troubles in the first half of the season, Jonathanhelped lead the Lions to a third consecutive premiership.
He kicked 27 goals and finished 12th in the Club Champion award after polling more votes than any other player over the last 10 weeks of the season.

In 2006 Jonathan firmed into Brownlow favouritism by mid-season as the Lions recovered from a poor start to the season to become a genuine challenger. Injury struck yet again in Round 10 against Collingwood when he suffered a serious hip injury which prematurely ended his season. His absence in the second half of the season was one of a number of factors that saw the Club plummet to its lowest ladder position since 1998. • Despite only playing ten matches, Jonathan still managed to kick 35 goals, average a career-high 19.1 disposals and finish 11th in the Club Champion voting.

In 2007 he was appointed as one of five Co-Captains at the beginning of the season and seemed to relish in his greater role of responsibility and won his first ever Club Champion award - an individual accolade he rates as the most prestigious in football. In addition to his first Merrett-Murray Medal, he received the Best Forward award and was also named as the Lions' Most Courageous Player at the Club Champion dinner. He was selected as Vice Captain in the All-Australian team, became only the second player in Club history to be awarded the Coleman Medal and was voted by his peers as the competition's Best Captain and Most Courageous Player. In 2008 his efforts were rewarded with a second consecutive Merrett-Murray Medal and the Lions Best Forward award at the Club Champion Dinner. In addition to his Club honours in 2008, Jonathan was named the AFLPA's Most Courageous Player for the second consecutive season and was considered unlucky to miss out on All-Australian selection. He was also named as the Lions sole Captain in October following a Football Department review conducted by new Senior Coach Michael Voss who was appointed in September.

In 2009 the powerhouse centre half-forward continued his career-best form in 2009 by playing in all 24 matches, averaging 16 disposals and helping lead his team back to the AFL Finals for the first time in five years. He kicked a merged Club record 85 goals for the season and finished second on the AFL's goal-kicking tally behind Carlton's Brendan Fevola and became only the third person in Club history (behind Kevin Murray) to win three successive Club Champion awards. Also in 2009 Jonathan was also awarded the Marcus Ashcroft Most Professional Player Award, the Members Player of the Year Award and became a Lions Life Member.

He was selected in the AFL All-Australian team for the second time and earned the nod from the AFLPA as the Best Captain in the competition and also led the AFL in contested marks and finished a career-best equal fourth in the Brownlow Medal.

In 2010, Jonathan was the Lions' leading goal kicker with 53 goals from just 16 matches. He also lead the Club in contested marks with 40 for the season and awarded for his efforts in 2010 at the Club Champion awards with the Shaun Hart Most Courageous Player award, the Members' Player of the Year award, and the Alastair Lynch Trophy for the Club Champion third place.