ALEX FAIR THE ADVOCATE Ulverstone recruit Cameron Brown admits to some nerves after returning to the football environment this week at Robins training.
But luckily Brown, whose family football pedigree is on show for all to see on the national stage via brother Ben, who is a dominant force in the North Melbourne forward line at AFL level, hasn’t forgotten the basics despite a long break from the game and is ready to ply his trade in the ruck for the Robins if a 2020 NWFL season gets underway.
It has been six years since Brown last kicked a football in a competitive fashion, for Glenorchy in the TSL, having put all his focus into basketball and his university studies on his way to becoming a teacher, with the former seeing him front up for Penguin and the Hobart Chargers and Hobart Huskies.
The opportunity to try his hand at football again has come due to basketball becoming a victim of COVID-19, with the NWBU and NBL1 competitions [where he was set to suit up for the North-West Thunder] shutdown, with Ulverstone coach Darren Banham approaching him with a renewed suggestion about two or three weeks ago to have a kick.
“With no basketball on, I needed to find a way to stay fit, and this is a fantastic way to do it,” he said.
“I have a 10 and half month year old [Charlotte] at home and a full time job teaching [at St Brendan-Shaw College] so I do need that escape and some fitness work and to be able to compete in that environment.
“I was a bit worried [returning to training], but a lot of what I’ve done previously with AFL Tas [as a Tassie Mariner] was about learning to kick as I do come from a basketball background, but once I got around there and had a run around a got a touch of the footy, it is like riding a bike, you don’t lose it completely.”
Brown believed his basketball background would come in handy, believing football was now made more for those that run. “It is more about how much more distance you can cover to wear out your opposition, rather than who is the biggest and the toughest and who can take the most marks,” he said.
“Looking at our guys at training, we look like we have a lot guys who are up for running for a long time and for my height I do run a fair bit.
“This will be new opposition for me, and they [opposition ruckmen] won’t know me either, but I’m not a tall ruckman [about 195cm] so it will be about jumping into other players early and being able to run off them as well and using my strengths.”
Banham said Brown would help young ruckmen like Bradley Cooper and Lachlan Cruse, as well as add overall depth to his squad.
Brown, who joins fellow former Southern Magpie Rhys Mott as key signings announced this week for the Robins, didn’t shut the door on this being just a one-off return to football.
He also said he’d yet to receive any strong feedback from his AFL-playing brother, but was bracing for some if the season does get a start, and would also likely go to him for some advice as well.