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Revisiting the 2003 Norm Smith Medal: Simon Black

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Roar Guru
2nd September, 2020
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On a historic day, Simon Black was crowned the 2003 Norm Smith Medallist, as the Brisbane Lions won the first three-peat since Melbourne in the 1950s.

For the second year running, it was the Lions and Magpies, but unlike the year before, it was a beautiful sunny day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the majority of the match.

After finishing third and losing to the second-placed Pies in the opening week of the finals, Brisbane had to go the long way.

Following the win over the Lions in the qualifying final, and minor premiers Port Adelaide losing in the corresponding qualifier, Collingwood were in pole position to land that elusive premiership for Brownlow Medallist and fearless skipper, Nathan Buckley.

Nathan Buckley #5 for Collingwood

Nathan Buckley (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

But as the Lions had done on so many occasions in previous seasons, they found a way on the biggest stage and Black played a critical role in doing so, as he joined Greg Williams and James Hird as the third player to win a Brownlow, premiership and Norm Smith Medal.

Despite winning the first clearance of the day, which resulted in the opening major of the afternoon from Alastair Lynch, Black had a quiet first term with just five disposals.

But he made up for it with a monumental final three quarters.

The silky smooth left-footer collected ten disposals in the second term, 12 in the third and 12 in the last. When the game was won in the second term, Black slotted his crucial goal.

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In an era where the most damaging players didn’t need the Sherrin in abundance, Black collected the AFL record for disposals in a grand final, 39, which still stands to this day.

Black also slotted a goal, had nine tackles, seven clearances and seven inside-50s.

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In what was an enormous afternoon at the MCG, Black performed something that is almost a crime in modern footy for a midfielder: playing 100 per cent of the match without a spell on the bench.

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In an unbelievable stretch of football, Simon Black alone won three premierships, the 2002 Brownlow Medal and was an extremely worthy winner of the 2003 Norm Smith Medal.

A period of mesmeric form that will etch his name into Australian Football League folklore for eternity.