HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Simon BLACK

Year Inducted 2017
Date of Birth 3rd April 1979

 

 

Player 1997 – 2013 (Brisbane 1998-2013, East Fremantle 1997)

Games: 324 (Brisbane 322, East Fremantle 2)

Goals: 171 (Brisbane 171)

Honours: Brisbane premiership player 2001, 2002, 2003; Brownlow Medal 2002; Norm Smith Medal 2003; All Australian 2001, 2002, 2004; Brisbane Fairest and Best 2001, 2002, 2006; Brisbane Lions Captain 2007-2008: Marcus Ashcroft Medal (Q Clash) 2011; International Rules Representative 2001

 

In Simon Black, the football talent pathway in Western Australia unearthed a gem in 1997, and whereas he was born in Queensland and played almost his entire senior career there, Black clearly has a powerful claim to be the best player produced by the West Australian football system in the 30 years of the national era. As an inside midfield magician, with clean, lightning fast hands and outstanding decision making skills, he amassed a record of achievement that will be extremely difficult to surpass. Black was the first player to play 300 VFL/AFL games and win football’s triple crown – a premiership, Brownlow Medal and Norm Smith Medal. He was three times an All-Australian and three times Brisbane’s fairest and best winner, but he also finished second five times and third once in a wonderful testament to his enduring quality as a player over 17 senior seasons.

Simon Black was born in Mt Isa, Queensland, where his parents had a fruit juice franchise. His mother being West Australian, the family settled in WA when Simon was two years old. As a youngster Black was a fine middle-distance athlete, becoming Little Athletics state champion over 800 and 1500 metres. It was an early sign of his elite endurance that was later to make life so difficult for opposition football taggers. Enjoying the greater appeal of team sport, Black gravitated to the Bull Creek-Leeming Junior Football Club and progressed naturally to the East Fremantle Football Club where he made his league debut in 1997. He had earlier that season been named an All-Australian at the national Under 18 championships.

Although tipped to go in the first dozen in the 1997 AFL draft, a perceived lack of leg speed saw Black drift and he was finally selected at No 31 as Brisbane’s third selection with three other West Australians taken ahead of him – Jaxon Crabb, Clem Michael and Rowan Jones. Although 1998 was a difficult season for Brisbane as they finished last with five wins, it created opportunities for Black and he recorded nine senior games. The following year he missed only three games as Brisbane reached the Preliminary Final only to be defeated by eventual premier North Melbourne. An Inside Football profile at the end of the season presciently described him as “Brownlow Medal material. Classy, silky skilled and poised to be one of the game’s biggest stars of the next decade.”

From 2000, Simon Black was a vital member of one of the great midfields in football history, along with Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis and Nigel Lappin. He did not miss a single game in three premiership seasons between 2001 and 2003, and won back to back Brisbane fairest and best awards in the first two flag wins. In 2002 he also polled 25 votes to win the Brownlow Medal and was later runner up in 2007 and 2008. Bedrock features of Black’s game were instinct, vision and endurance. His quick hands, developed playing basketball as a kid, made Black a master in tight situations and his ability to get in and under packs made him one of the best clearance players in the AFL over a long period. One of his finest achievements was his 39-possession effort to win the Norm Smith Medal in the 2003 Grand Final when injury clouds over Voss and Lappin required something special.

Black maintained his relentless running power and brilliant clearance and stoppage work for 16 AFL seasons, before finishing as a player in 2013. His career average of 23.54 disposals per game is better than those achieved by Voss, Judd, Cousins, Akermanis and many other modern champions.  Black has remained involved with football, initially as an assistant coach at Brisbane and latterly as a director of a football academy.

He may not have been the quickest player over the ground, but as a remarkably durable, skilful and brave inside midfielder with wonderful disposal skills and a sharp football brain, Simon Black must rank as one of the best footballers ever produced in Western Australia. He is an outstanding addition to the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.