TRIPLE Brisbane Lions premiership forward Jonathan Brown will take a hands-on approach in his new role as Hampden interleague coach.
The South Warrnambool export’s signing is a major coup for the Bottle Greens who were searching for a new mentor to replace newly-appointed Koroit coach Chris McLaren.
Brown, who is one of the Hampden league’s most decorated AFL exports, helped run interleague training two years ago.
“It’s not just a name appointment. I am not just going to turn up on game day, I am fully involved,” Brown said.
“Obviously I won’t be able to see many of the games early on but I will be well and truly involved during lead-up and during interleague week.
“I am really looking forward to having a hands-on experience with that and I will also have some fantastic football brains as my right-hand men.”
Brown is committed to assembling a strong team for the May 13 showdown against South East league.
He will run a condensed one-week training program, which could include a final session at an AFL club, in preparation for the Melbourne-based match.
“Whether you’re 35 or 18, if you’re in the best 22 for the Hampden league, you will get a game,” Brown said.
“I don’t care what the age or experience level is. With Hampden league’s best players, they match up with any team in the state.”
Brown said he was excited to return to his grassroots after a decorated 256-game with Brisbane.
“I always wanted to get back and support my local league in anyway I could and I think this is a good platform,” he said.
“The Hampden league were a real powerhouse 15 to 20-odd years ago. They’ve probably fallen down the rankings a little bit but I think most importantly the major objective is to create an environment the players want to play in and want to experience.
“Geelong is ranked number one and we’re ranked number 11 and our long-term goal has to be to work our way back into the top handful of teams.
“I am committed to helping build a program that will carry on in years to come no matter who the coach is.”
Hampden board member Gary Attrill said Brown’s signing was a major drawcard for the Bottle Greens, which have drawn South East league for the May 13 showdown.
“We’ve been talking on and off for a couple of years and when he moved to Melbourne the talks became more,” he said.
“The last couple of months they’ve ramped up and last night he committed to it after he lined up all his ducks and drakes. It’s very exciting for us, we can’t wait.”
He is hopeful the former Coleman Medallist will attract high-quality and up-and-coming players to put their hands up for representative honours.
“I mentioned how great it was that someone of his profile is giving back to regional footy,” Attrill said.
“He is a pretty unassuming guy and said ‘it’s what we do’.”