North Melbourne spearhead Ben Brown is set to be on the move, with the club saying they are willing to entertain a trade as they continue to reshape their list.
The 27-year-old full-forward has been encouraged to talk to other clubs so that a trade can be arranged after reports that contract negotiations between him and the Kangaroos fell apart.
Brown has been one of the premier forwards of the last few years, kicking 60 or more goals in each of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.
In fact, just Geelong Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins (206) has kicked more goals than Brown (196) since the start of 2017.
But form, injury and personal tragedy restricted Brown to just eight goals in nine games this year, with his last coming in round 10 against Geelong when he sustained a season-ending knee injury, and he now appears to be on the move.
North Melbourne general manager of football Brady Rawlings said that he and coach Rhyce Shaw had told Brown of their decision on Friday.
“It’s not a decision we’ve made lightly as Ben has been a tremendous part of our club since 2014,” Rawlings said.
“It was a very honest discussion. Ben was very mature and understood our decision.
“We will work with Ben and his management to secure a mutually beneficial outcome.”
The Age is reporting North Melbourne offered Brown a three-year contract worth upwards of $750,000 a season at the start of 2020, but it was rejected by Brown and his management as they sought a longer-term contract.
If Brown does leave, it will continue a massive overhaul of North Melbourne’s list, after the club delisted 11 players last week including Majak Daw, Jamie Macmillan, Mason Wood, Jasper Pittard and Ben Jacobs.
There are also talks premier midfielder Shaun Higgins could be on the move, with Geelong a likely suitor.
It’s reported Hawthorn, Collingwood and Gold Coast were all approached by Brown’s manager Adam Ramanauskas, with the Hawks ruling themselves out of the race for his services.
The Magpies, who play an elimination final against West Coast at Optus Stadium on Saturday week, would have to fit not only Brown but out of contract stars Jordan De Goey and Darcy Moore into their already tight salary cap.
Gold Coast have a developing forward line which is being built around Ben King and Izak Rankine, leaving the club with a decision to make should Brown fit into the line-up.