MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin says a remorseful Ben Brown has explained his striking charge from the VFL over the weekend as a "pure accident" and has backed his key forward to respond quickly.
Brown copped a two-match VFL suspension, downgraded to a one-game ban courtesy of an early guilty plea, after he was charged with striking during Casey's clash with Williamstown last Saturday night.
It means the premiership forward will miss a third consecutive senior match, having previously been forced to sit out of Melbourne's victories over Essendon and Port Adelaide after entering the AFL's health and safety protocols.
Brown kicked two goals from eight disposals and six marks in the VFL clash, with his absence ahead of this Saturday night's fixture against Greater Western Sydney likely meaning youngster Sam Weideman will get another week in the senior team.
"I have spoken to Browny," Goodwin said on Wednesday.
"If anyone knows Browny, you know the quality of the person he is. He is probably one of the kindest, most gentle souls going around in footy. He's incredibly remorseful. It was a pure accident and he knows he got it wrong.
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"He'll cop his right whack and move forward, but he's very remorseful. He certainly didn't mean it and it certainly wasn't a deliberate act. He's a quality person and he understands he's done wrong."
Brown was found guilty of an intentional strike to Williamstown's Max Philpot, with the Match Review grading the incident as low impact and high contact, but Goodwin says the action didn't occur as a result of his frustration.
"I think it was a pretty physical sort of game," Goodwin said.
"He was just trying to reset the forward line and get back to the position that he wanted to be in. He tried to push his way through there, but he got the action wrong. Straightaway, he recognised that he got it wrong.
"He was very remorseful both at the time and on the night. As you speak to him now, he's just one of the nicest guys in footy. He said in his own words that he's got his right whack, he'll learn from it, get better and move forward.
"There certainly wasn't a frustration in terms of the action itself. It was more about trying to get back to his position on the ground."
Weideman kicked a career-high four goals on his AFL return against Essendon in Brown's absence, but was held goalless against Port Adelaide last week. He will now likely get a third straight senior appearance against the Giants at the MCG.
"It's competitive for spots and Browny knows that," Goodwin said.
"He knows it's a very competitive forward line to play in. He's got a big bank of evidence of the way that he plays to really high levels, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
"Obviously, missing another week of footy is not ideal. We would have loved for him to be back playing AFL footy. That's not the case this week, so we'll sit down and assess that next week. We'll certainly miss Browny."
While Brown's absence makes for a much simpler solution in the forward line, Goodwin still has selection headaches down back after premiership defender Harrison Petty returned from calf surgery through the VFL last weekend.
Petty has been deemed physically ready to return to the senior side for his first appearance of the season, with the Demons likely to have to choose between the returning defender and Adam Tomlinson for a place in the back seven.
"The backs have done a fantastic job. We've been missing some soldiers down there, but everyone who has come in has performed really strongly," Goodwin said.
"Harrison played last week in the VFL and he's physically ready to go. He'll train fully today and after today, we'll sit down and make that decision about whether he's ready for AFL level.
"From a physical perspective, it's just a matter of whether we decide he's ready to perform to the level we need from him at an AFL level. But he's getting very, very close to playing AFL footy again."