A 14-year servant since the inception of the Southern Flinders Football Club back in 2002, a premiership captain and 243-game veteran, Ben Brown is set to return to the NAFA in 2018 as the Tigers senior coach.
Brown will take over from the man that installed him as club captain in mid 2008, Scott Brand, when he moved from that role to A grade coach.
“Scott, as many people know, is a good mate of mine and has been a tremendous support in the transition over the first couple of weeks,” Brown, who will turn 38 on November 9, said.
“He'll take on a pathway - leadership role through the entire club in 2018.
“We've already been actively recruiting and I'm looking to find key players.
“Joel Palmer returns from Kadina and will be my assistant coach and in an on-field leadership role.
“I'll definitely be looking to adjust our playing style to be more competitive with the top couple of teams.
“I'll be looking for us to play free-flowing football and hit the scoreboard.”
Brown’s playing career started at Central Augusta, where he played all his junior footy and 50 A Grade games, starting senior footy as a 16-year-old, before venturing down to town and spending the 1999 season playing SANFL reserves footy at North Adelaide, during Chris McDermott’s reign at that club.
He had two years with the Athelstone Raggies under Neil Rawlings in 2000 and 2001 in suburban Amateur footy, and was recruited to Southern Flinders at the start of 2002 by Brenton “Basher” Prior.
“I had family ties in the district as my father Graham played for Laura-Wirrabara back in the day,” Brown said.
“My parents (mum is Ros) have been tremendous support and they would travel each week to come and watch me play each week over the 14 years I was at Southern Flinders.
“On the playing side I’ll be looking to simulate a little of an AFL-type structure with my assistants taking coaching roles and helping with the structures.
“It’s a bit of coaching by delegation and people owning the roles they have.
“I'm excited to be back coaching in the NAFA competition after having two years as an assistant to Chris Pollard at Solomontown in the Spencer Gulf League and learning a lot from his calming influence.
“I picked up bits and pieces of knowledge from all my coaches along the journey.
“This is my first senior coaching role.”
Along with his football, which included three flags for the Tigers, including 2009 and ‘10 as the premiership captain (wins against Broughton Mundoora and the BMW Lions) and the ‘13 flag (against Orroroo), plus grand final appearances against Jamestown-Peterborough (’03) and Crystal Brook (’12), Brown was also a highly credentialed cricketer.
Last summer he led the Upper North to its first Country Cricket Championships title in 32 years and also captained Solomontown North to the 2016-17 Port Pirie Cricket Association title.
When in Adelaide, he played with the University Blacks at SACA A Grade level notching up 50 games and having the best figures of five for 32 against Sturt in a one-day fixture.
Brown also played state country cricket for the Outbacks during the 2-11-12 campaign in Geelong, Victoria.
Brown played cricket back at home at Central Augusta alongside older brother Shane – who he described as a straight break bowler and lower-order slogger – in three senior premierships.
Brown will coach a number of players he had premiership success with and is looking to attract recruits that will fit the Tigers family and culture.