Brown good, omens not so for Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brown good, omens not so for Bombers

20/08/2010 07:24:58 PM Comments (0)

There was a time when Jonathan Brown thought he would never reach 200 AFL games.

And Essendon coach Matthew Knights would be forgiven for wishing the inspirational Brisbane Lions skipper hadn't reached the milestone on Sunday.

Brown, 28, couldn't help but get nostalgic on Friday after finally being cleared of a troublesome knee complaint to play his landmark game against the Bombers at Etihad Stadium.

And no wonder - the Lions captain admitted he had reached a career "crossroads" with a chronic back complaint in 2006, just as he had overcome disciplinary issues.

It was hardly music to the ears of Knights, who had endured endless speculation about his future following a horror fortnight at the helm.

Brown hasn't played since inspiring a drought-breaking five-point win over West Coast a fortnight ago.

Another Lions win on Sunday would only apply more pressure on Knights, especially after Bombers legend James Hird threw his hat in the ring.

And the omens aren't good for Knights.

Brown usually saves his best for the Bombers - and the Lions skipper went as far as rating his eight-goal 2005 heroics against Essendon as his greatest game to date.

In his first game back from suspension five years ago, Brown tore Essendon apart with a then club-record goal haul - at the same ground as Sunday's clash.

"It would be hard to top that one, mainly because I had been out for six or seven months after the grand final, had (come back from) a pretty serious knee injury and had trained with the team for a week," Brown said on Friday.

"I always have some great battles against the Bombers.

"One of my great memories in 200 games was the 2001 grand final (win over Essendon)."

Not that Brown's career has been all beer and skittles.

The candid Lions skipper admitted he thought his days were numbered when he was plagued by an "uncommon" injury.

"In `04 I had a lot of suspensions and `05 and `06 my body really let me down, I missed a lot of games due to a pretty serious stress fracture in my back and pelvis, it was pretty uncommon (injury) at the time," he said.

"You look back then I was probably at the crossroads.

"That was probably when I had my doubts (that I would play on) because my body just wasn't standing up to a full season of football and I was only 24 or 25.

"But I worked very hard on that over the last few years ... I think my body has been able to show a fair bit of resilience over the last four years."

But Brown didn't want his reflective mood to prompt talk of retirement.

"I am proud to get the 200th, no doubt," he said.

"Especially with the one club that I grew up barracking for (Fitzroy) - that's significant.

"But this isn't the end though - I think I have plenty of years left in the tank."

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