Brownlow medallist Simon Black to play for New Zealand
21 Feb, 2017
Former Brisbane Lions superstar Simon Black can add yet another significant achievement to his already impressive AFL resume when he takes the field with the New Zealand Squad to play against the Australian AFL Academy team at Wellingtons Westpac Stadium during the ANZAC weekend on April 24th 2017.
Black’s association with AFL football in New Zealand has continued to grow over recent history. After his selection in the inaugural New Zealand Heritage team in 2013, the past three years he seen his role alter to a selector of the team in conjunction with fellow selectors Warren Jones and Wayne Schwass.
Warren Jones was born in New Zealand, and was part of a fearsome Carlton team that won the 1982 Premiership. He also played 31 games for St Kilda. Fellow selector Wayne Schwass, also New Zealand born was a Premiership player for North Melbourne and also a player with the Sydney Swans accumulating 282 games over an illustrious career. The most decorated player in Lions history, Simon Black was considered eligible with consideration to his father’s birth place, New Zealand.
The 2016 Heritage team boasted an exciting mix of established AFL stars such as Max Gawn from the Melbourne Football Club and Sam Mitchell of the Hawthorn Hawks as well as youthful talent and home grown New Zealand players. To meet the criteria to be selected in the AFLNZ Heritage Team, each player must either have been born in New Zealand or have New Zealand parentage. The 2016 team consisted of 14 players currently listed with AFL clubs.
Shane Savage, who has been selected in all 4 Heritage teams, believes a team representing the land of the silver fern is “not out of the question”. “One day down the track. There is a lot more work to do now. If the AFL can keep doing what it’s doing and gain more awareness with the people then it’s definitely a possibility,” Savage said.
Read more: 2016 AFLNZ Heritage Team
Simon Black received the honour of being selected in the AFL’s first ever Multicultural Team of Champions in 2013 with the announcement as part of the AFL’s Multicultural Round celebration. The team comprised the period 1896 – 2013 and in order to be considered for selection, players must meet similar criteria established for International representation in Rugby, League and Soccer and be born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas.
In 2014 a team talk from Simon Black was a highlight of the International Cup for the New Zealand Hawks. He spoke to the team the night before their win over the USA Revolution and in Black’s words, he saw the passion and ambition within the New Zealand Hawks team.
In 2017, Black now has the chance to showcase this passion himself with his opportunity to represent his family and his heritage
Father born in NEW ZEALAND
Playing Career: Brisbane 1998-2013
Games: 320, Goals: 170
Finals: 20, Grand Finals: 2001-04
Norm Smith Medallist: 2003
Brownlow Medallist (League Best and Fairest): 2002
Brisbane Lions Best & Fairest: 2001-02, 2006
All Australian Team of the Year: 2001-02, 2004
Brisbane Lions Co-Captain: 2007-08