Thu. Oct 24th, 2019

Brown grasping at elite opportunity

Calder Cannons half-back Curtis Brown in action during the 2019 NAB League season. Photo by AFL Photos.

From the Eagles to the Cannons: Curtis Brown’s journey continues

Written by Jarryd Barca 

This time last year Curtis Brown was playing his final season of junior footy with the Macleod Eagles, dominating his way to a Yarra Junior Football League (YJFL) best and fairest award.    

Now aligned with North Heidelberg in the Northern Football Netball League, it wasn’t until very late in the piece in 2018 when he found himself in the Calder Cannons program. 

He played a handful of late games but never really found his feet. 

Four weeks ago Brown pulled on a Vic Metro jumper to take on Vic Country in one of two Under 18 trial academy games played at Ikon Park.  

In a click of the fingers, the 18-year-old is now vying for a spot in the final squad to play in June’s National Championships.  

“It was a great experience and an absolute honour to pull on the jumper,” Brown said. 

“Just to think where I was at this time last year … I was playing local footy and school footy, and now to be able to represent Vic Metro is an absolute honour.

“I found the game was a bit quicker, but I held my own.” 

The Marcellin College graduate has enjoyed a first-rate start to the 2019 NAB League season, averaging 18.4 disposals and four rebound 50s per game.  

“Curtis came into the program a bit later last year as a 17-year-old … but this year he’s really been pivotal for us for our drive off half back,” assistant coach Brad Murphy said.

“His speed and decision making are really, really good.

“He’s the self-proclaimed best kick in the club but he sort of backs it up, his skills are very good on his left side and he’s got that good balance between defence and attack.

“He’s a very good player and in the Vic Metro side as well at the moment so that’s a real feather in his cap and hopefully he can make the final squad and continue to play well for us.”

Without Year 12 commitments holding him back, the classy left-footer spends two days a week landscaping and finds himself either in the boxing gym or undertaking pilates. 

He even almost made it as a barista.

“I did VCAL last year and that was our project, to become a barista,” Brown explained.

“We had our own little shop in the school, went to go get a barista license and all that, so (I’m) a little bit of a barista.” 

But would he pursue it further?

“I was about to, then I just put it on hold for a bit. I’ll crack under pressure when I try to make coffee! I don’t really want to make coffee to be honest,” Brown conceded.

The Macleod junior life member started playing at the club when he was six years old and went on to represent the Eagles for more than 200 games. 

His speed and decision making are really, really good.

Brown said his switch to North Heidelberg as he exited his junior career was due to his bloodlines at the Bulldogs.

“Well I had basically been there my whole life, dad’s just always been there,” he said.

“I used to always watch them when I was younger so I’ve sort of just grown up in the environment of North Heidelberg.

“I thought I’d just keep on the family thing and head there, my uncle played there (and) dad played a few games. 

“I don’t think he was that crash hot though actually,” he added with a smirk.

“I think he should’ve stuck with the music which is a good thing I think.”   

Brown’s father Russell – better known as Rusty – is a well-known and well-credentialed musician who plays in Melbourne-based hard rock band Electric Mary. 

“Every time he gets up on the stage I get a bit of a chill, I get a bit nervous,” Curtis said.

“But then when he comes up and you see all these people cheering him – they’re here for your dad – it’s something special.”  

Brown might be a good kick of the footy, but even he thinks he’s a “shocking singer”. 

“I try to think I am (a musician) but I can’t sing, if I could sing I’d probably be alright,” he conceded. 

“I played a bit of guitar, I started on the drums (and) was pretty good, but shocking singer.” 

Playing pure midfield throughout his young career like most in the NAB League, Brown’s shift to the half-back flank has seen him take a keen interest in AFL defenders whose attributes he can emulate.  

“Someone like a Tom Langdon from the Pies or Jack Crisp,” he singled out.

“Just the way Jack Crisp dashes off the half-back flank but then also gets back and takes the intercept mark.

“Same as Tom Langdon, his grand final game last year – you couldn’t get much better than that – the way he was able to intercept mark and get the play going was something that stood out.” 

While there might be a long way to go until he cements himself into a world where his revered Langdon and Crisp are current occupants, Curtis Brown’s path leads to a no doubt exciting destination.

Hear the full interview with Curtis on our Cannons Uncovered podcast below.