Collingwood big man Leigh Brown has traced the evolution of his game-turning role for the Magpies back to the son of WA legend Stephen Michael.

Brown’s pivotal play as a key forward-cum ruckman was a key plank in Collingwood’s premiership last year and was again instrumental in booting half of his team’s eight-goal rush which buried the Western Bulldogs in the final term at the MCG on Sunday.

The 29-year-old yesterday credited the instructions delivered to him by Magpies coach Mick Malthouse as the key behind his AFL survival after being moved on by both Fremantle and North Melbourne.

But he also likened his role, which has become crucial in light of tight new interchange rules, to that played by former Docker Clem Michael, the son of an AFL Hall of Fame great.

Michael Jr played only 43 games between 1998 and 2000 before succumbing to injury at the age of 24, but Brown said his former teammate’s impact had remained imprinted on his mind. “We’ve seen a lot of guys do it over the years … I think Clem Michael was probably the one who started it a long time ago at Freo,” Brown said on Melbourne radio station SEN.

“He was that really mobile ruckman who could play forward and (Geelong’s) Cam Mooney has done it over a period of his career at certain times. Now, I guess, there’s more and more.

“Mick’s given me set roles each week and I know, running out onto the ground, what I have to do and what my role is and I think that’s been pretty much set.

“When I run up the race I know exactly what I need to do and it hasn’t really changed or deviated throughout games, as it had previously.

“To have that and be consistent, that’s where the improvement has come.”

Brown said he had discussed the clearly-defined role with Malthouse even before Collingwood punted on him with pick No.73 in the 2008 national draft after he had been de-listed by North Melbourne.

He has since represented the Magpies in 52 of his 229 career games and is in the best form of his senior football life.

Brown also recognised Fremantle utility Kepler Bradley’s transformation from dour Essendon defender to Dockers wild-card, in a similar role to the one he plays at Collingwood.

Bradley is also in career-best form and has kicked at least one goal in all five games this season.Source Link

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