AFL New Zealand has linked with the Simon Black Academy in Australia to provide opportunities for New Zealand born players living in Australia to excel at AFL.
Simon Black is one of Australian Rules most distinguished football players. Simon played 322 games at the elite level for Brisbane Lions over 16 seasons (1998 and 2013). Regarded as one of the best mid-fielders of the modern era, Simon is a Brownlow Medallist (2002) and played in the Lions 3 consecutive premierships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. As an All-Australian and ex-Captain of the Brisbane Lions, Simon knows what it takes to succeed in both sport and life.
After 19 years at the Brisbane Lions, Simon decided that the end of the 2016 season was the right time to step away from his role as Midfield Coach and focus on The Simon Black AFL Academy.
The Academy is open to all and NOT restricted to elite players. The program is designed to develop you into an elite player. Each day those involved participate in football skills related training, strength and speed training, nutrition and wellbeing programs, in conjunction with weekly business and fitness study in a flexible learning environment.
As part of the initial link with the Simon Black Academy, AFL New Zealand has nominated a participant of New Zealand Heritage to be part of the ANZAC campaign. Those nominated will be immersed in all aspects of the weekends activities, attending relevant functions, team training sessions, access to coaching staff and for those who have the required attributes, will even be considered for national selection.
Callum Hill, born in Christchurch and currently playing and involved in junior coaching at the Redcliffe Club in Brisbane, is the first member of the Simon Black Academy to be nominated through the newly formed partnership. It is hoped that the partnership and processes in place will lead to future opportunities for Callum to one day represent his country.
Simon Black will take the field in 2017 when he debuts for the AFL New Zealand National side against the AFL Academy at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium in April 2017.