Simon Black

Simon Black (born 3 April 1979) is a former Australian rules football player and current assistant coach, who played his whole career with the Brisbane Lions in the Australian Football League (AFL).

Simon Black
Simon Black in 2008
Personal information
Full name Simon Black
Date of birth (1979-04-03) 3 April 1979
Place of birth Mount Isa, Queensland
Original team(s) East Fremantle (WAFL)
Draft No. 31, 1997 National Draft
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 81 kg (179 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1998–2013 Brisbane Lions 322 (171)
International team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2001 Australia 2 (0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2013.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Black was a midfielder with a reputation for hard work and skill. He had the ability to get under the pack to retrieve the ball as well as deliver it with precision to teammates.

He was drafted by the Brisbane Lions in 1997 from the East Fremantle Football Club, and he debuted in the first game of the 1998 season and quickly became one of Brisbane's best players. He became Brisbane’s third Brownlow Medalists by winning the much coveted award in 2002. He also won the 2003 Norm Smith Medal and the 2001, 2002, and 2006 Merrett-Murray Medals awarded to the best and fairest player with the Brisbane Lions and three premiership medallions he received as a part of the Lions' hat-trick of premierships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Black, along with Michael Voss (1996 Brownlow Medalis), Jason Akermanis (2001 Brownlow Medalist) and Nigel Lappin were collectively known as ‘The Fab Four’ and are widely considered to be the best midfield combinations in the history of the game.[1]

Black is currently serving as the Contest Skills and Midfield Coach at the Brisbane Lions.[2]

In 2019, Black competed in the sixth season of Australian Survivor. He was eliminated on Day 42 and finished in 7th place.[3]


Born in Mount Isa, Queensland, he relocated to Western Australia with his family at a very young age, where he attended school at Corpus Christi College in Bateman.[4] He was a standout junior 800m and 1500m runner as a junior. At age 15 he suffered a back injury that required him to not play football for 18 months.[5] He joined East Fremantle Football Club and represented Western Australia in the 1997 edition of the AFL Under 18 Championships where he earned All-Australian honours. He was a member of East Fremantle's losing 1997 WAFL Grand Final team.[6] Black was drafted by the Brisbane Lions with the 31st selection in the 1997 National Draft.[7]

Playing career

Early career

Black was impressive during the 1998 pre-season and earned his senior debut in Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba. He played nine senior matches and averaged over 12 disposals during his debut season and took out the Club’s Best First Year Player award. In 1999, he consolidated himself as an automatic senior selection and built a reputation for winning the ball in contested situations. He collected 20 possessions and kicked two goals against Geelong in Round 9 which earned him an AFL Rising Star Nomination; he ultimately finished third in the award behind Sydney’s Adam Goodes and Adelaide’s Brett Burton. He played 22 matches for the season and averaged close to 19 disposals and won the Lions' Rookie of the Year award for the second consecutive season. In 2000, he averaged 23.9 disposals per game, led the competition in centre clearances on a per game basis and finished second behind Geelong’s Garry Hocking in hard-ball gets.

Premiership era

Black became one of the league's elite midfielders from 2001. Over the following four years, Black and the Lions contested four Grand Finals, winning the premiership in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and finishing runner-up in 2004. During that time, Black was part of a Brisbane midfield combination which is considered to be one of the best in the league's history: Black, Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis and Nigel Lappin, who became known collectively as the "Fab Four".[1]

In 2001, Black played every match for the season, led the AFL in tackles and averaged a team-high 24.6 possessions. He was joint Club Champion with Captain Michael Voss, was named as the starting ruck-rover in the All-Australian team, finished 5th in the AFLPA's Most Valuable Player award, and won the Herald Sun Player of the Year award. He represented Australia for the first and only time of his career in the 2001 International Rules Series against Ireland.

In 2002, Black won the Brownlow Medal, polling 25 votes to beat second placed Josh Francou by four votes and comparisons were made between him and dual Brownlow Medallist Greg Williams because of his outstanding peripheral vision and ability to get the contested ball.[8] He earned All-Australian selection and won the Merrett-Murray Medal for the second consecutive season. He was strong again in 2003, and won the Norm Smith Medal as best on ground in the Grand Final with a career-best 39 possessions – the most ever recorded by any player in a Grand Final.[9]

In 2004, Black became a vice-captain of the Lions, and he won All-Australian selection for the third time in his career. At the end of the season, Black had played a sequence of 107 consecutive matches for Brisbane, before a suspension in the violent 2004 AFL Grand Final ended the sequence.

Later career

Black's 2005 season was interrupted by injury, but in 2006 he played every match, and won the third Merrett-Murray Medal of his career.[10] At the beginning of 2007, Black was named as one of the four Lions co-captains, replacing the retiring captain Michael Voss.[11] In 2007 and 2008, Black continued to be Brisbane's premier midfielder, and he finished second in the Brownlow Medal in both seasons. He earned Brisbane Lions Life Membership at the end of his tenth season of service. He was also the Courier Mail Player of the Year in 2008, and was runner-up in the 2008 Merrett-Murray medal.

In 2009, new coach Michael Voss named Jonathan Brown as the sole captain of the club, and Black remained in the leadership group.[12] He had another consistent season in 2010, finishing second in the Merrett-Murray Medal.[13] In 2012, Black played his 300th AFL game, becoming the first player in league history to win a Brownlow Medal, a Norm Smith Medal, a Premiership Medal and play 300 games.[14]

In 2013, Black equalled Marcus Ashcroft's record for the most games played for the Brisbane Bears/Lions playing his 318th game.

On 18 October 2013, Black announced his retirement from the AFL.[15]

Coaching career

Shortly after announcing his retirement from the AFL, Black signed on as an assistant coach at the Lions for two years. His main focus is coaching the team's forward line and attacking systems.[16]

In 2016, Black founded the Simon Black Australian Rules Academy, a full time sport and educational program which provides pathways for students to pursue University and Fitness qualifications while training and playing AFL in an elite academy environment.[17] He subsequently resigned from his role as a coach at the Brisbane Lions to focus on growing the Academy program.[18]

Media career

In August 2019, Black joined 10 News First Queensland as an AFL analyst.[19]


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1998 Brisbane Lions 20925733711028110.
1999 Brisbane Lions 2022191426015641670600.90.611.
2000 Brisbane Lions 2019161227318145461620.80.614.49.523.93.23.3
2001 Brisbane Lions 20252317308314622791190.90.712.312.624.93.24.8
2002 Brisbane Lions 20251718288294582841150.70.711.511.823.33.44.6
2003 Brisbane Lions 20261614326308634731130.60.512.511.824.42.84.3
2004 Brisbane Lions 2025131128430759157970.50.411.412.323.62.33.9
2005 Brisbane Lions 201810821318339650480.60.411.810.
2006 Brisbane Lions 202284257273530631080.40.211.712.424.12.94.9
2007 Brisbane Lions 202191124422246645910.40.511.610.622.22.14.3
2008 Brisbane Lions 202110925328653961870.50.412.013.625.72.94.1
2009 Brisbane Lions 2023107256328584651120.40.311.114.325.42.84.9
2010 Brisbane Lions 20186422223846074690.30.212.313.
2011 Brisbane Lions 20224928530559062950.20.413.013.926.82.84.3
2012 Brisbane Lions 20185618024742748670.30.310.013.723.72.73.7
2013 Brisbane Lions 208357710217917290.40.69.612.822.42.13.6
Career 322 171 154 3799 3781 7580 937 1283 0.5 0.5 11.8 11.7 23.5 2.9 4.0

Honours and achievements

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
1999 9
2000 4
2001 12
2002 25
2003 12
2004 18
2005 6
2006 11
2007 22
2008 23
2009 19
2010 3
2011 9
2012 6
2013 5
Total 184
Green / Bold = Won

In June 2019, it was announced that Black had been voted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame for the class of 2018, but due to his commitments to filming Australian Survivor he was unable to attend the induction ceremony. He will be officially inducted in 2020.[21]


  1. Michael Voss says Carlton Fab Four has way to go to match Brisbane greats
  2. "Vero Coaching Group". Brisbane Lions. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  3. McKnight, Robert (21 May 2019). "Major cast details leaked for AUSTRALIAN SURVIVOR: CHAMPIONS vs CONTENDERS". TV Blackbox. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  4. Crikey - Famous alumni on Latham's hit list Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Quayle, Emma (25 September 2002). "Brownlow medallist looks back on what might have been". The Age. Melbourne.
  6. Rielly, Stephen; Happell, Charles; Denham, Greg (1 November 1997). "Who Your Club Drafted". The Age.
  7. Connolly, Rohan (24 September 2002). "Black proves the pick of his year at No. 31". The Age. Melbourne.
  8. Blake, Martin (27 March 2003). "Simon the master of the simple game". The Age. Melbourne.
  9. Blake, Martin (28 September 2003). "Black right on the ball". The Age. Melbourne.
  10. "Black a true-blue golden Lion". The Age. Melbourne. 7 October 2006.
  11. "Lions appoint five skippers". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 March 2007. Archived from the original on 23 March 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2007.
  12. "Jonathan Brown named Lions' sole skipper". Herald Sun. 26 October 2008.
  13. Australian Associated Press (10 September 2010). "Rischitelli the Lions' best in 2010". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  14. "Black night for veteran Lion against Cats". The Australian. AAP. 29 April 2012.
  15. Black calls time
  16. "Simon Black becomes assistant coach at Brisbane Lions" by Matt Murnane, The Age, 5 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  17. Beaton, Robert. "LEARN TO PLAY THE SIMON BLACK WAY". AFL Players Association. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  18. "Simon Black to focus on growing Academy". Brisbane Lions. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  19. Knox, David (28 August 2019). "Australian Survivor's Simon Black joins 10 News". TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  20. Simon Black's player profile at AFL Tables
  21. "Simon Black survivor, Simon Black hall of fame, Brisbane Lions champions, AFL Hall of Fame 2019". Fox Sports. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
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