North Melbourne forward Ben Brown has been dropped after a poor start to the AFL season restart. Image by Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS

Australian rules football

Kangaroos dump Brown for Crows AFL clash

2020-07-31 18:36:16

North Melbourne have axed spearhead Ben Brown and winger Jared Polec for Saturday’s AFL match against fellow strugglers Adelaide.

Brown has managed just eight goals in eight games this season, with coach Rhyce Shaw finally running out of patience.

Brown and his wife Hester have also been trying to cope with the loss of an unborn baby.

Hester was due to give birth to twins in February next year but suffered a miscarriage with one of the babies.

“It has obviously been a tough period for him off the field and we all feel for him in that scenario,” Shaw told reporters on Friday.

“But it has also been pretty tough for him on the field … he just hasn’t been getting the results.

“Ben is a great player, we all know that.

“But if you keep doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same result, then there has got to come a point in time where we do make those decisions which are best for him and best for our team.

“Hopefully it is that circuit-breaker and he can find himself again.”

Shaw refused to comment on reports the Kangaroos were shopping Brown, who falls off-contract at season’s end, to rival clubs.

“I don’t have time to worry about that stuff,” he said.

“I am trying to get the best out of Ben, do the best thing for him and get him going right now.”

Polec was also dumped as the 17th-placed Roos react to a six-game losing streak entering the fixture against the winless and last-placed Crows on the Gold Coast.

“His body of work over the last month hasn’t been up to the standard that we expect,” Shaw said.

Polec will be replaced by Aiden Bonar with Brown’s attacking post filled by Majak Daw, who returns for his first AFL game since falling from a bridge in December 2018.

Daw suffered horrific pelvic and hip injuries when falling into the Yarra River.

“I don’t know if Maj gets another credit for this, but he is a resilient bugger,” Shaw said.

“And he puts it all out there for everyone to see.

“He has shown great courage in talking about his mental health battles and we’re really proud of him for that as a football club.

“I must admit, when we were talking about it (his return) as a coaching group, when you sit back and actually think about it, it’s really special what he is doing.”

Adelaide have lost stand-in captain Tom Doedee and Brad Crouch (both hamstring) to injury, while David Mackay and Fischer McAsey have been managed.

Veteran midfielder Bryce Gibbs returns for his first match since June’s season restart along with Riley Knight, Jake Kelly and Rory Atkins.

Brodie Smith will captain the Crows in the absence of Doedee and regular skipper Rory Sloane.