An emotional Ben Brown shared his premiership winner's medal with his family after ending a roller-coaster year with footy's ultimate prize.
Squeezed out at the club he had called home for much of his life, the 28-year-old faced numerous personal demons before the AFL club of the same name helped him become Tasmania's latest champion player.
"It's been a tough year, having to get over a bit personally," Brown said after Melbourne's 74-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.
"This club has been so good to me and I just can't thank them enough. All the coaches and support staff, everyone has been there for me.
"My wife, Hesther, and my two kids at home (Aila and Esme), it's just as much your medal as it is mine, so thanks so much."
On the ground, Brown was put up for trade by North Melbourne after 130 games in seven years, moved to Melbourne on the final day of the 2020 trade period and spent extended periods playing in the VFL while off it he suffered the devastation of losing an unborn twin as well as pre-season knee surgery.
In and out of the Dees' team this season, he entered the grand final having kicked 22.11 from 12 matches, taking his career tally to 309 goals from 142 outings.
He was pivotal in the showpiece decider in front of 61,118 supporters at Perth's Optus Stadium, kicking three goals as teammate Bayley Fritsch led the way with six and Christian Petracca won the Norm Smith Medal.
Talking to Channel Seven after the game, Brown said: "It was an incredible amount of support from the club. From the moment I walked through the door the coaches were so positive with me and the playing group accepted me in.
"I had to go away and probably do some work from a mental and physical point of view to get myself up to it.
"I'm so proud of this club, proud of this group and I'm so proud of myself as well."
Hobart-born and Devonport-raised, the 200-centimetre, 101-kilogram forward, who finished in the top three in the Coleman Medal standings from 2017 to '19, was playing in his first grand final at any level since his time at St Brendan-Shaw College.
"Just the way we've played all year I think we set ourselves up the best we could and the boys were fantastic all over the ground," Brown added.
"Well done Petrach on the medal but it was such a team effort throughout the season and it was a pleasure to be part of to be honest.
"You can't describe the feeling, I'm a bit lost for words."
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