I STILL remember Jonathan Brown calling me over.
We’d just won the Hall of Fame tribute game in 2008 wearing the Big V, one of my favourite footy memories, and were back celebrating the win at a packed Waterside Hotel in King Street.
“Let’s crank the song out, big fella,” Browny said.
So up we jumped onto the bar and started belting it out.
“Hearts to hearts and hands to hands, beneath the blue and white we stand.”
But before we knew it, the whole pub had joined in.
Browny was that sort of bloke — a leader wherever he went. You felt 10-feet tall when you were with him and confident wherever you were.
He was the ultimate bloke’s bloke and what you saw, is what you got.
He would often throw shindigs for the boys at his big palace in Brisbane.
Let me tell you, it was an amazing pad.
When I first arrived he had a barbie with all the players and their partners.
Plenty of boys filtered in and out throughout the day and, as usual, I got there early and was there until stumps.
I remember a few stories coming out in the media afterwards saying we’d got in a punch-on that night, which were just rubbish.
If singing Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror 10 times in a row turned up to the max standing arm in arm on his couch is a fight, then boy I’ve been in a few over my time.
There are plenty of other stories I might keep in the vault for now about what we got up to after a few beers but one thing I still miss is having a coffee at his place the night before a game.
Browny reckons he’s the best coffee maker of all-time.
Just ask him.
Mind you, I have to give it to him, they were pretty good.
As we all know, so was his footy.
A three-time premiership player, captain of both Brisbane and Victoria, a Coleman Medalist (they don’t give those away), a couple of All-Australian selections, a best and fairest and a reputation as one of the game’s toughest.
His courage is going to be remembered as legendary but sadly it was his downfall in the end.
I think he’s just about the only footballer that sets every alarm off at the airport when he walks through the metal detector because he has so many metal plates all over the place in his body.
Now he gets to sit back and relax, crownie in hand, on his Gold Coast farm and enjoy family life with his beautiful wife Kylie and his gorgeous kids.
Enjoy it, Browny, and let’s hope little Jack can grow up and follow in his old man’s footsteps and become a champion on and off the field.
Because that’s exactly what you are.