Brownie beats all odds to reach Double Century

Multiple Premiership Captain and Club Champion Caleb Brown will play his 200th game for Mayne this Saturday at the Den to be just the tenth Tiger to reach this extraordinary milestone in almost one hundred years.

Brownie, as he is affectionately known, is one of the nicest people you would like to meet but don’t mistake his polite disposition, he is a fierce competitor and one of the most determined and well prepared athletes that has ever donned the black and gold. A quick survey of his team mates over the last almost twenty years will elicit a rush of superlatives about his legendary preparation and determination to get the best from his athletic frame but just as importantly the personal time and support he has devoted to so many of them.

A lot has already been written about this man along the way with so many milestones and achievements that started when a skinny schoolboy boarder was noticed by Richard Champion at the Western Taipans way back in 2002. He now forges his next chapter to this epic story as he enters a higher level at the Tigers, one that only a select few have achieved.

Despite all this hard work and it seemingly being only a matter of course that he would reach this milestone years ago, a horrific injury in 2017 could have ended his stellar football career and even his ability to function. An accidental knee to the back in a marking contest saw him taken from the ground at the Den to spend eleven days in hospital with eleven fractures to his spine and a floating fracture that meant a three month intensive recuperation period.

A reasonable person would say that was enough with his beautiful wife Jenny and two lovely children, Oscar and Elodie to care for and an endless list of achievements to his credit. However, he was left somewhat with unfinished business on 191 games at the end of the 2017 season. By the way, the list of achievements is impressive and worth a quick summary; two Keith Beavis Club Champion Awards, two Mick Nolan Player’s Player Awards, four times runner up Club Best and Fairest, two times Mick Nolan Best on Ground in a Grand Final, Duncanson Medallist (League Best and Fairest), five years Club Captain with three premierships and a host of times representing his state. It also needs to be remembered that he was a proven performer at NEAFL level with a couple of stints at that level to add to the number of games played during his long journey.

Over the course of the next two years Caleb was a regular at the club helping out with training and doing a runner’s role. It clearly isn’t easy to leave footy behind when you are as fit and strong as this man and you have so many friends still involved in the club. Brownie’s cousin Jack Collings had taken over the mantle of best prepared as well as being the multiple Club Captain and Club Champion while his father in law Tony O’Connor was still Senior Team Manager and his Uncle Mick and Auntie Tammy Collings were still heavily involved with club roles so footy was still a major part of the close family discussion.

It was therefore inevitable that he would venture to have another tilt at the game he loved and with the club that he has helped to shape over the last twenty years. He was also swayed by wife Jenny to show the kids what Dad was capable of in his heyday now that they were getting old enough to enjoy the match day fun with the other player’s children.

We asked Caleb this week what he was most proud of from his many years in football and he was quick to highlight the three premierships that he captained with so many of his closest friends. This was especially sweet given the many difficult earlier years that he and his mates had endured to keep the Tigers alive. He cites some of his favourite memories being Andrew Housego standing on tables at the Den leading the loudest possible chorus of Tigerland as everyone celebrated those three wins long into the night.

As we reminisced about the many years of ups and downs, there are so many wonderful memories, it is most of all the culture that has been maintained at the club which gives him greatest satisfaction and the fact that a whole new group of players who are also quality people have bought in and will take the club forward.

Caleb pulled the boots on again in 2020 but COVID shortened the season to further delay this milestone. He played in another Grand Final but this time a loss which has only heightened the desire to carry on. He was agonisingly short on 198 games at the end of 2020. A broken bone in the hand in a practice match early this year postponed this event yet again but here we are after a stirring win over old rivals Springwood last week and a home game against local rivals Aspley at the Den on Reunion Day to set the scene for a fairy tale celebration of this wonderful achievement.

There are only nine previous Tigers to achieve this number since 1924 with only Don Barber, Paul Meakin and games record holder Andrew Housego still alive.

Everyone in Tigerland will be looking forward to seeing this much loved gentleman champion achieve his double century on Saturday and join this exclusive 200 club.

We asked some of Caleb’s coaches and team mates to provide their thoughts on this wonderful milestone. Nobody who knows Brownie will be surprised by the respect and love shown in the following testimonials and recollections including one from the man who got Brownie to the Tigers. 

A massive congratulations and best of luck to Caleb Brown on your pending milestone mate. 200 games is an amazing contribution to the game and in particular to one club!

I remember you approaching myself in 2002 when you were training with the Western Taipans and asking "who would I suggest I try out for in the QAFL”

As it was my final year of footy with the Tigers, I remember saying “come and join the Tiges mate, terrific club, good guys and we could do with some height”

19 years later and you’re still kicking goals! This is a wonderful story of persistence, the ability to overcome adversity, inspiration and most endearingly, loyalty!

I hope to be there to see you run out to the applause you richly deserve and I wish you the best for not only this special day but beyond your amazing contribution to the Mayne FC.

Richard Champion

What a wonderful achievement for Browny to play 200 games with this great club. 

Browny would probably be the most professional player I’ve had the privilege of playing with.  The way he prepares for training and game day would be on par with the majority of AFL Players playing at the highest level, such is his desire to succeed and play well for his team.  There is no doubt that routine has played a huge part in why he has been so durable and one of the best Mayne has seen in its time.  He is still playing great footy at the age of 37 and is as fit as he’s ever been.

His transformation from League to Australian Rules Football has been phenomenal.  Not only did he make the switch in sports but has now turned himself into one of the elite players in QLD.  One who has performed brilliantly in the big games with his 2 x Mick Nolan Medals for BOG to prove this.

He has stuck with the club during the bad times and with plenty of hard work eventually reaped both team and individual success in the past few seasons.

He’ll go down as a ‘Mayne Great’ when it’s time to finally hang them up if he isn’t already.

All the very best Saturday mate, I’m disappointed my old frail body couldn’t make it out there with you for this one!

Luke Faulkner

Nobody have I played more games alongside than Brownie. Makes sense given he's the only other player in the last 4 decades to achieve the milestone of 200 games in the black and gold.

He's the only member of the current senior squad who experienced the trying and character building era of the 2000's and that would be testimony enough to the character of the man.

It's not though. Not by half. Through all my time in football, I've not played with anyone who dedicates themselves as greatly to their preparation and pushes themselves beyond limits that most would find impossible.

He has been an incredible leader of this club, through his attitude, preparation and performance and if not for a serious back injury, his tally would have far exceeded 200.

It was an honour to have played alongside you for most of those 200 Caleb and I'm sure the boys will provide you with an occasion to celebrate.

Andrew Housego

Never forgotten Browny having a short stint with Morningside but coming back to Mayne whilst still in his prime. 

Never forgotten the bloke who starred forward, back and mid on the road to an historic threepeat.  

Never forgotten the trio of Brown, Faulks and Daly who all should have played on an AFL list but forged a bit of history with the Tigers instead. 

Never forgotten the bloke that backed back with the flight time and again....Collings, Hartley, Patto , Housey, Billy were tough...Browny might just have ‘em covered. 

Still going too...A legendary career, A legendary Tiger! 

Congrats on 200 games Brownman.

Danny Craven

Brownie sums up the word champion perfectly not just as a football player but as a person. He’s attention to detail is like no other and his preparation is also second to none! He leads from the front on the field and every player walked taller knowing he was by their side.  I can honestly say he’s one of the greatest players I’ve been able to play with and no one deserves a milestone like this more than he does! Congratulations mate on a great achievement and hopefully you can celebrate with a few vodka and sodas after a good win!

Clint Brunnenmeyer

It has been an absolute honour to play with one of my best mates in Caleb Brown for the best part of 10 years at Mayne. As one of the first players I met at the club (and in Brisbane), a lifelong friendship has been formed with our family (Louise, Isla, Austin & Ella) and his (Jenny, Oscar and Elodie).

To play alongside him and witness first hand what an elite player and contributor he has been to the Mayne football club is something I am proud of. His football ability, professionalism and commitment to the Mayne football club is what holds him in such high regard not only within our club but all of South East Queensland.

He may be a backman at heart, but his ability sees him play all over the ground often put into positions where he wins us a game – forward, back or midfield. There isn’t much he hasn’t achieved in his playing career; B&Fs, league B&F, 3x Premierships to name a few.

What a huge achievement to reach 200 games at the Mayne Tigers. All your past and present teammates at Mayne are better for having played with you mate. Don’t ever underestimate not just your ability on the field but off it in uniting this football club. You will go down as one of the greats.

LEGEND!

Dean Hartley

From the first time I arrived at Mayne, Caleb and Jenny both made Steph, Duffy and I feel extremely welcome. It’s not unusual for Browny and Jenny to invite new players around for dinner or go out of their way to make them feel a part of Mayne. 

Browny is the ultimate leader who does everything and anything for the club on and off the field. 

He really does gel the players together. 

I feel very honoured to have had a special coach-captain relationship with him and I have no doubt we had success because of his work. 

I know Browny doesn’t like the spotlight on him but everyone should be aware of how much he has committed to this club. 

He played a different role and position each year I played with him and it would be great to have 3 Caleb Browns because he can play anywhere with no fuss.

He is now one of my best mates and I will value our mateship forever. 

All the best big dog and just enjoy your time in the spotlight! 

Shaun Daly

Congrats Browny for the great achievement of playing 200 games for Mayne. One of the best players I have played with at the club. Browny is a great leader of the club and has played across many positions on the field and dominated all of them. When a Final or big game is on the line Browny Is the player who has consistently produced a big Goal/moment to get the Tigers going! Look forward to getting the win on Sat!

Sam Paterson

Congratulations to Brownie on playing his 200th game for the club, a fantastic achievement. I remember my first year at the club, turning up as a young shy kid. Brownie was the first bloke to introduce himself, invite me over to his house for dinner and make me feel welcome. He is a wonderful role model to the young players at our club and I am privileged that he took me under his wing. Brownie is the ultimate professional and his dedication to the club and his team mates is sensational. The best player, team mate and leader that I’ve played with. Good luck on Saturday mate. 

Zac McLean

Huge congrats on your 200 games Browny. A milestone to be proud of. Simply put, your preparation and sacrifice is second to none. Many great games played in the 200 that’s for sure and you continue to accumulate memories that will last a lifetime. Wishing you a safe passage at 2pm, all the best.

Luke Ferguson

There isn't much else to say about Caleb that people don't already know. One of the most professional, loyal and genuine people you will ever meet that consistently puts others before himself. Anyone that has met Caleb is a better person for knowing him and I cannot wait to see him achieve such an incredible and well-deserved milestone. Good luck mate!

Jordan Morrison

Browny would undoubtably be one of the most skilful, hard-working and courageous players to play for Mayne. Browny has won every individual award in the books and is a triple premiership captain which says a lot about his skill, professionalism and leadership. But I think the biggest compliment you can give him is that he is an awesome teammate on and off the field and the ultimate club man. He will always do the little team things on field and at training to help the team, and will always make the effort to help his mates off-field. Not only has Browny been an important part of the club's success over the last 8 years, but he stayed loyal and gave it everything during the tough times for the first 10 years of his career. He deserves every accolade he receives and I would love to be running out there with him on Saturday. 

Jack Collings

I’ve always admired the way Browny goes about his football! He is the a true professional in every way, displays outstanding leadership and is as loyal as they come.  For someone his height (not weight) he has the ability to play any position on the ground and play it better than anyone else! I feel very privileged to be a premiership team mate of his and even more so to be his coach for this milestone. I have no doubt he still has plenty left in the tank and hungry for more team success! Congrats big dog! 

Josh Duffy

Caleb's journey to 200 games was not without its fair share of adversity, with a number of stops and starts along the way.  I recall fondly playing alongside Brownie in his senior debut for the Tigers versus Zillmere where he lined up against Dan Dickfos, performing admirably, covering for my inadequacies beautifully.  The kid could play.  We had some tough afternoons together in his early years on the field.  He also faced extended periods of time on the sideline battling injury, which no doubt would have posed its own mental obstacles to overcome.  Therein though lies the key to Brownie's success - he thrives on a challenge.  He worked tirelessly on his game to the point where he was fortunate enough to be named Qld Country fullback at the Australian Championships.  Sensing an opportunity to challenge him further I then dropped a bombshell on his world by informing him that I'd decided he would play full forward for the Tigers the following season.  Our new game plan was modelled on Caleb up front.  In typical Brownie fashion "if that's what is best for the team" he then devoted his entire summer to learning and developing his forward craft with special mention to his beautiful girlfriend and now wife Jenny - the goal kicking consultant.  Caleb was a joy to coach, not without the odd outpouring of emotion, but always with a deep-seated desire for the team to do well and also wanting to give himself every chance of succeeding.  His preparation for each game (and each season) was meticulous, flawless even.  I love the Caleb Brown story, like many of his team mates in the 100 club, he has found his niche at the Tigers.  I remember fondly his 21st birthday party up at Mungindi and giving a speech where somehow, we all knew that Brownie would be a success with whatever he devoted his time to, on and off the field.  Looking back, I think we were spot on and wish Caleb and his wonderful family all the best for this incredible achievement, 200 games for the mighty Mayne tigers.  

Mitch Ferguson

The shear number of people who are in the 200 game club speaks volumes of how prestigious this is to achieve and there aren’t many players who deserve the accolades more than Brownie. It’s a huge achievement for a guy who has dedicated almost every waking moment to making himself, his game and the club a better place. Congratulations on 200 games!! It’s been an absolute privilege to play, watch and see everything you’ve gone onto achieve over those games. All the best for the weekend. All I wish for is “one more game”!

Jimmy Gillett

Congrats on 200 games Brownie, what an achievement! Still the most dedicated and hard working team member after all these years. You've had a career most people can only dream of and been a great leader and mentor at the club for as long as I can remember.  Hope you enjoy the day, we get the win you deserve, and you kick a bag (and maybe even spend a bit of time in the backline just to put the cherry on top). 

Bill Stephens

The ultimate professional, Brownie has the most elite training standards I have seen at the club and is someone I have always tried to learn from. The fact he has come back from a broken back and is still one of the team’s most valuable and respected players is a testament to his character.  I have been lucky enough to play alongside him and watch him dominate in big games, notably snapping goals over his shoulder in grand finals. Congratulations Brownie and good luck this weekend! 

Jasper Craven

Congratulations great man on the big 200th! I know I’ve only played a small number of them with you but you’ve taught me a load. From training standards, to big marks, leadership and drinking ciders! It’s hard to look past you as one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had and I look forward to sharing many more years with you. We owe you this one.

Jack Coghlan

 

 




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