Veteran AFL journalist Caroline Wilson has criticised Ben Brown and his manager Adam Ramanauskas after the pair failed to accept a reasonable three-year deal from North Melbourne earlier this year.

Brown will depart the Roos in the off-season after the two parties couldn’t agree on a deal moving forward, with Ramanauskas confirming on Friday that he and Brown were seeking a fourth year in the contract offer.

However, Wilson found it staggering the pair didn’t come to the table, with the tall to be 28 by the time the season begins in 2021.

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“All managers make mistakes and have bad timing in the decisions they make. But it’s Adam Ramanauskas I’d be staggered about if I’m Ben Brown,” she said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

“If it was his advice that told him to reject the $750,000 a year or minimum $700,000 a year three year deal from the Kangaroos in March this year. (That is) one of the worst decisions this year a manager has made.

“His manager should’ve convinced him to take it.”

Brown was offered nearly $850,000 a season for three years before negotiations stalled.

Speaking on AFL 360 earlier in the month, Gerard Whateley doubted Brown “could do much better than two years at $500,000 a year, just by comparison of the commodity he was to the commodity that he now is, shunted into the open market.”

That’s a drop of at least $1.5 million from what he was offered pre-season.

Former AFL players Matthew Lloyd and Kane Cornes debated the decision, with Lloyd explaining how Dustin Martin and Brodie Grundy were able to win more years in their deals with clubs after playing the long game.

“He was 26 years of age at the time and he’d kicked 60 goals for the three previous years as well and it was probably his last big contract,” Cornes explained.

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Ben Brown booted more than 60 goals in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Photo: Mark Stewart
Ben Brown booted more than 60 goals in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Photo: Mark StewartSource: News Corp Australia

“I don’t begrudge him and maybe he wasn’t fully confident in the way North Melbourne are going. New coaching coming in, record poor, maybe he wanted to do a Tom Lynch and explore the option of playing in a premiership.

“I’d much rather play for $200,000 less and be in a successful side than sign a North for three years at $750,000 and be 17th which they are going to be for the next three or four years.

“So I don’t think it’s as big as a mistake as what you’re selling.

“He will get a good deal. There’s not too many key forwards on the market, there’s three or four clubs that desperately need a key forward. He’s not going to be struggling next year, he will get a three year deal on good money.“

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