Simon Phillips – Flipper, you’re a ripper!


(photo courtesy of SANFL)

Simon Phillips for the Norwood Football Club

2008-2018 – 149 games, 231 goals

Highest number of goals kicked in a game: 8 v Glenelg in 2013

Advertiser team of the year 2010

6th in the Best and Fairest in 2010

Tying with Michael Newton and Peter Persinos leading goalkicker with the magnificent total of 17 goals in 2015

Premiership player: 2012, 2013, 2014


Simon is the son of John and Bernice. He has a sister, Sharlene, brother Gavin and his illustrious twin brother Chris. He grew up in Victoria and as usual between twins they were ultra competitive. Simon, after missing out on a representative Under 15 side in which Chris made the side, it motivated him to work extra hard and made the victorious Victorian Metro side for the National Under 18s carnival (formerly Teal Cup) in 2005. Marc Murphy (who won the Larke Medal) and Beau Dowler (who was recruited by Hawthorn and was an outstanding junior, alas injuries hurt him badly) were Vic Metro teammates.

Simon said there had been some interest but not by the majority of the clubs so he wasn’t that confident of being drafted. He was pleasantly surprised when rookie draft number 54 selection, “Simon Phillips from the Sandringham Dragons drafted by the Sydney Swans” was announced.

Simon played well in the ACT league and was subsequently promoted to the Sydney Swans senior list and debuted against West Coast at Subiaco in Round 15 in 2006. Simon ended up playing five games for Sydney, adding that living with Paul Bevan was fun. He did plenty of playful boxing with Paul and enjoyed the odd beer or two.

Lewis Roberts Thompson was like a big brother to him and a great help. Brett Allison, Stuart Maxfield, and Brett Kirk helped not only in a football teaching role but in mentoring as well. Simon totally agrees with Nic Fosdike in how huge a role Stuart Maxfield played in developing the Bloods culture of that time.

Paul Roos as coach and his heir apparent, John Longmire, ran a tight ship but also a very professional one. Simon adds his manager, Tom Petroro from Stride Sports Management, was very controlling and strict re. distributing money to Simon. It wasn’t till Simon was older that he realised that Tom was trying to teach Simon important life skills in general and particularly about money.

Simon was cut by Sydney at the end of 2007 and while correctly he adds all individuals are responsible for their own actions I feel he was distinctly unlucky to be delisted. In 2008, Simon met with Gary Pert from Collingwood and the Pies promised to draft him. However, Simon after much soul-searching decided that he still had growing up to do and he needed to be away from Victoria and another possible peer group. Simon’s decision initially shattered his father (who overall has been a vital influence on his career), John, who was a fanatical Pies man. Simon had seen many a Collingwood game as a youngster.

John on Simon’s behalf had actually contacted Norwood before he was picked up by Sydney. So, the Redlegs were back on the radar. Mark Ross discussed Simon with Jamie Mason and it turned out signing Simon by Jamie Mason occurred on Jamie’s last day at Norwood (well done Mase).

Simon never minded the mud or the Bloods (photo Brenton Neumann)

In 2008, the highlight of Norwood’s year was defeating Port in the Elimination Final, with a young Taylor Walker absolutely dominating, only to be knocked out the following week. Simon was hampered by a broken hand in 2008 while in 2009 unfortunately Norwood fell away and coach Trevor Hill was replaced by Jarrod Cotton in a caretaker role. Simon had a better year personally.

Nathan Bassett arrived with a bang in 2010 adding professionalism and intensity at training while we started slowly adjusting to Bass’s game plan (Norwood losing its first four games of 2010). We came home with a bang, making it through to the Grand Final, getting up in a cliff hanger in the Preliminary Final against Woodville West Torrens courtesy of a goal to Nick Duigan in the dying seconds.

In a fantastic Grand Final, Norwood went down by a goal to the dominant Central District side. Alas, a serious facial injury to Simon Phillips occurring early in the third quarter was a crucial factor in the result.

While in hospital, Simon had a pleasant surprise receiving a visit from Port coach Matty Primus and football manager Peter Rohde (good Redleg flavour) who promised Simon that he would be a Port Adelaide player in 2011. This occurred through a trade for Simon with the Gold Coast Suns. Simon was effectively a Suns player re. the rules for the start up club.

Simon started the year well at Norwood and eventually debuted for Port in Round 7 against Hawthorn (replacing the injured David Rodan). Simon was a solid contributor and was steadily improving both in number of touches and influence on games at AFL level until a shoulder injury ended his season (that bloody shoulder, Flipper. Hey, Myponga, my advice is try and get sponsorship from a tape supplier).

In 2012 Simon hammered himself and had a fantastic pre-season. He was picked by Port to play West Coast away only for Port to be convincingly beaten with Simon not having a good game. Shannon ‘Bunger’ Hurn kicked three goals playing half back on Simon who was dropped. This turned out to be Simon’s last AFL game (a touch of irony his first and last games were against West Coast in WA). Simon adds that ‘Buddha’ Hocking, Matthew Nicks and Matty Primus were helpful and positive influences during his two years at Port.

Flipper never played a game at the G which is a huge regret but was lucky enough to compete in the half time sprint twice which was won by Danyle Pearce and Brendon Fevola (Fev too many beers beforehand Flip?) The silver lining was Simon ended up playing the majority of the year in the virtually invincible Norwood side and had a good grand final against West Adelaide (has there been any benefit whatsoever to any individual player or the competition in general from having the AFL sides in it?)

In 2013 Simon was again a important member of our back-to-back flag win against North Adelaide. Nathan Bassett, with his focus on defence, emphasised the importance of small forwards to pressure and harass. Then to have the pace of Phillips and Wilson run onto the footy kicked over the top were vital in our success.

GF_0166(photo courtesy of Deb Curtis and SANFL)

In 2014, under new coach Ben Warren, Simon was vital against the Port Power Reserves, in particular his footy smarts vital in beating Irish recruit Daniel Flynn. Phillips kicked four goals in our threepeat epic flag win over the Port Power Reserves.

SANFL Grand Final – Norwood v Port Adelaide: The Greatest Win of All

Let’s quickly gloss over 2015-2017, where in all seriousness Simon missed a hell of a lot of footy mainly through those bloody shoulder injuries. Simon returned early in the 2018 season and was a very important player in our winning streak. Alas, come grand final day North took their opportunities, Norwood didn’t and we know the result (I now drive extra Ks detouring avoiding Port Rd and seeing the chimney).

Recently on Facebook there appeared a post from Ali Runner about her son Jack who had fallen over at school and put a pencil through his leg. The photo was truly graphic I messaged Ali re. who Jack’s favourite players were the reply was Simon and Chris Olsson. I contacted Simon and Chris who both realised straight away that it was Jack. Simon called while Jack was waiting to go into surgery and Chris contacted Jack the next day. It really was the best medicine and greatly appreciated by the Runners

Simon with Jack Runner (photo courtesy of Ali Runner)

Simon is on the same wavelength as me re. the further you work your chain down the footy levels you find real footy clubs and that the AFL is a billion dollar industry. I love Simon’s analogy that the SANFL competition was full strength raspberry cordial and that the AFL clubs had added water and diluted it considerably. Simon adds Mick Weatherald helped greatly teaching him about work ethic at CPMG meats and life-work balance, not only focusing on footy.

Simon has worked in a variety of other jobs as well including Coca-Cola, Asics, Nova and Nespresso Professional – we wait on the next chapter.

Amber has been an incredible, supportive partner. They are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. Simon promised to take a step back in his footy especially re. time. I don’t think a lot of people realise the enormous time commitment to play SANFL footy for not huge financial return. Simon admits SANFL retirement was a very hard decision to make – he departs league footy with plenty still in the tank.

Simon and Amber

Simon has been a fantastic recruit for the Norwood FC. His ability to mix with any and every body has endeared him to the the Redlegs faithful, embracing the connections made through footy. Good luck in your future footy career with Myponga-Sellicks and, more importantly, in life. Thanks Flipper, you’re a ripper!


Questions to Flipper

Best player I played with:

KMAC (Kieran McGuinness) probably comes to mind first. Such a calming influence on field, somehow always managed to avoid getting tackled and all round great fella.

Other notable mentions: Paul Puopolo and the ever consistent James Gallagher.


Phillips and Gallagher (photo courtesy SANFL)


Best player/s I played against:

Sturt combo – Scott ‘Scooter’ McGlone & Jace Bode. They would always get stuck into JD and I but they both had the ability to back it up. I’d like to think I did ok against Scooter. Daniel Caire and Scott Morris were equally as hard to match up on.


Memorable moments:

Apart from winning three flags.

Knocking back plenty of beers in the Premiers Bar in my early days with Gavin Goodfellow and the boys. RIP to the original Premiers Bar!

Letting a torp go from 70m against Westies in my first game back from injury (it was a goal too).

Missing my flight home from Byron at 2012 footy trip. Shout out to Juice Newton for sticking around! And cheers to Mat Suckling for the meat pie that night.

The grand final after parties – belting out tunes on the mic with Kane Murphy.

Hanging with Barry Solomon and the crew under the grandstand.


Funniest moment would have to be….

After a solid day at pre-season pub golf, and Callum Bartlett’s first outing with the team, Pat Levicki and I helped assist the young fella home for a well deserved rest… We figured it would be best to bring his mattress down from upstairs, considering his state – safety first! Upon our return the following morning we were amused to discover Callum upstairs in his bed…. asleep on the wooden slats!!! p.s. he was probably best on that day – what a champion!


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  1. Bill Drodge says

    Great read Malcolm.

    Flipper would have to be right up there with our best interstate recruits (there’s a job for you. Pick a team of the best from interstate).

    I prefer full strength cordial also!

  2. Lyall Fuller says

    Well done on another great article, flipper always had that X factor was able to do the impossible at the right time and swing momentum our way, great lad great footballer. PS found out the other day my doctor is your brother in-law Geoff Symons small world. Thank you again Lyall Fuller.

  3. Excellent write up Malcolm.
    Loved watching Flipper play with his dash and his goal sense, we will certainly miss him.
    Bloody shoulder injuries indeed, I’m amazed he lasted as long as he did.
    Never met Simon but from anecdotes I have read and heard elsewhere he seems a really top, down to earth bloke.
    Thanks for the memories Simon you have been a joy to watch playing for the Mighty Legs.

  4. Wonderful person and player. Always a sad day when any player decides to hang up the boots.Well play Flipper and well done Malcolm another great insight.

  5. Another excellent read Malcolm. I’ve always enjoyed watching Flipper play for the Redlegs, had he not been hurt in the 2010 GF, I’m absolutely convinced we’d have won 4 out of 5. Such a courageous and clever player, he’ll be a hard one to replace.

  6. What a terrific article Malcolm. Loved watching Flipper play. He had good poise, excellent pace, could take a screamer and he always knew where the goals were. Unfortunately, his tenure was spoiled by persistent injuries. Playing with those injuries showed his immense courage. He kept coming back when others would have called it quits. Of all our modern day players, Flipper ranks very highly in my estimation.

  7. Another great article. Always really enjoyed watching Flipper play, he was always exciting to watch and stood up when we needed him. Even through all the injuries he kept his quality, and managed a great career from it.

  8. My favourite player in those premiership years. Will miss his run inside forward 50 and exciting manoeuvres under pressure. Great article, although hard for him to not get much of a run with port, the Legs fans sure reaped the benefits.

  9. Brett Zorzi says

    Back in 2006?, I took a potential recruit out for dinner. He trained one session with the group. He was small, super skinny but lightening quick. It’s was flipper. He got drafted to the Swans and returned a few years later. Very happy he did.
    One of the most dangerous forwards in the league. Always heavily marked but still managed to find space, especially out the back. A very reliable kick for goal and always kicked at least a few a game.
    He kicked many important goals for us, especially the 1st of the game in the 2012GF to get us going and a snap in the pocket in the 3rd qrt 2010prelim to start a memorable comeback.
    With flipper in the forward line, as midfield players, we knew we just had to get the ball down there quickly. He was able to create something from nothing regularly.
    A great Norwood player and man.

  10. Martin Rumsby says

    Great overview of Flipper’s career, Malcolm. His speed and goal kicking ability were valuable ‘X’ factors for the team throughout his time at Norwood. Towards the end of his career I also respected his courage and commitment to the club as injuries took their toll on his body. Many players would have given the game away well before Simon did. Thanks for the memories, Flip, and best wishes for the future.

  11. Yep, Rulebook, Flipper is a special player, capable of being a class above his opposition. Remember the screw punt against Westies well as well as the solo soccer/run in a torrential downpour against Sturt at Unley that led to an important goal. Also a couple of times beating Glenelg off his own boot. Best of luck to him and his growing family.

  12. harry butler says

    Thanks Rulebook.
    My best memory is his set shot from the north-eastern pocket at Adelaide Oval in the last quarter of the GF against Port 2014. We were getting over run and that goal from an acute angle against the run of play gave us breathing space and ultimately I think got us over the line. Good luck in ‘ retirement’ Simon.

  13. John Cunningham says

    Great detail Rulebook…. it is always great to here about a players’ journey with the Legs, before, during and after retirement. Flipper probably could have kicked a bucket load more goals if the gameplan was a tad more more attacking….anyhow 3 flags is worth the sacrifice for the team! He was one player who dragged people through the gate when the SANFL really needed it.

  14. Andrew Killey says

    Very good story about a very good player. Flipper made watching Norwood play exciting and unpredictable. Fast, courageous, talented, skilled and would have been a real pain the arse to stand. That’s why he’s one of my fave all time Norwood players.

  15. Probably my favourite player from the past ten years, always a joy to watch. It was a shame that we weren’t able to win one more with him before his retirement but still a triple premiership player! Many thanks for his commitment to the club, especially with his injuries, and best of luck with the next stage of your life Flipper!

  16. Darryl Barker says

    Great piece Malcolm. Simon will be sorely missed from the club, loved watching him play. One of my favourite moments was him holding the premiership cup with my daughter in it. I think the the worst was Flip getting crunched in the 2010 GF, think that changed the result. Best wishes for the future Simon.

  17. Great read “Book”. We all recognise the quality player Simon is but I would like to express my admiration to Simon the person. His injuries are well known but few would know how hard he worked to overcome them.
    He would do everything to get himself right to get on the track just to train, often being the last off the oval, much to Gavin’s frustration, submersing himself into the icebath and then getting hour long massages after. He was always the last player to leave the rooms after training, followed by us trainers,
    Simon is a friend to all us trainers, spending time to talk to us, enquire about how we are travelling, how our families are etc. Some were also invited to his engagement. He is family.
    We will sorely miss him being around, although the Club’s tape budget will breathe a sigh of relief. :)

  18. Special player throughout a special period in the clubs history. I remember the times I watched training in Flips early years and he was always the last one off after putting in extra time on his own, working on goal kicking. His moments in big games and his reliability near goal were special traits, along with his ability to transform from the lightly built, blindingly fast young tear away into that ever present threat closer to goal. He was strong overhead for his size.

    Standout memories (among many) was the goal in the last quarter of the 2014 2nd Semi (MASSIVE part of the threepeat) and his similar, but from further, effort in the 2010 Prelim to start the successful comeback.

    Been an honor to have followed his NFC career from day 1.

    Thanks for the amazing memories Flip and thanks for yet another great read Malcolm. ??

  19. Mark Window says

    Flipper has always been one of my favourite players. A true goal wizard who could conjure something from nothing. So many memories. His injury in the 2010 Grand Final I do believe may have cost us a Premiership. That season he was the genuine X-factor. How crucial would he have been in that last quarter? The night he kicked 8 in 2013 was another unforgettable game. As Baldy said he would be last off the oval on training nights, driving Gavin mad, as he slotted goals from all angles, allowing me to fetch the odd ball! A great guy all round.

  20. Lawrence Ben says

    Great read Rulebook!!

  21. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Bill thank you and good idea ! Lyall v much so re X factor and the old small,Adelaide.Manny thank you yes
    Flipper stuck at it re those bloody shoulders and yep great bloke.Aishy thank you great man( I no Flip will appreciate your words also) Peter v hard to replace and totally agree re 2010 just as important as the head clash this year.Fisho agree with every letter.Campbell well said.Tim he was certainly exciting and yep no luck with,Port what so ever and yes we reaped the benefits.Zorza thanks for filling in that piece of the jigsaw and you nailed it.Martin again v well said.Dave that goal against,West was remarkable v much so re X factor and will be missed.Harry 2nd semi in 14 but why let mete detsil between friends inter fear and in all seriousness thank you.JC well said and agree re game plan but Flip embraced and was a vital part of the game plan
    thank you and v much so re dragging spectators thru the gate re Sanfl.Andrew love your comment.Joshua well said and yes that elusive one more grrrr.Darryl yes a fantastic moment,Flip holding the cup with your baby daughter in it and yes agree totally 2010 thanks folks greatly appreciated

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Baldythank you for your thoughtful comment while I knew about the muck around re the connection between Simon and tape I have learnt more about,Simon the person and his caring nature thru your comment and while spending a considerable amount of time with him while interviewing him for the article.
    A funny moment also in that we were at a small bar and this other group had left we were the only 2 left
    Simon only had a couple and I was drinking water and the barman said would you guys mind leaving and I go yes kicked out of a bar the barman bemused look on his face Simon goes he doesn’t drink,I then briefly explained my battles with the booze ( Payney and I with our bond shared a laugh about it )very much a endearing quality is Simons genuine care and interest in others while I had always got on well with,Simon I learnt that on a more personal side at presentation night in 2017 when Simon made a bee line for me and we had a lengthy chat,I mentioned that to Simon and he added retirement then was a serious consideration and he had wanted to chat to and thank individual supporters who had been important thru his career of course I was flattered and appreciated his words.JK I haven’t been a huge attendee at training for quite a few years thru work and family so have greatly appreciated yours,Baldys and Marks insights in to trading and Simons attitude and work ethic.I also understand completely now,Simons words that he couldn’t continue not putting in the time and effort also where family and work as it should come v v much in to the equation.JK well said and thank you.Mark yes I can picture,Gav now getting frustrated ( but secretly loving,Flippers dedication)
    thanks guys for the extra insight.Lawrence from USA thank you and look forward to catching up when you return. Thank you re people commenting and sharing the article greatly appreciated

  23. Tim weatherald says

    Well done rulebook. Had the pleasure of playing my last few years of footy at Norwood with flipper. He was one of only a few players I played with who could turn a game himself with his in uncanny ability to kick a goal. Remember some amazing goals and Marks he took. Was shattered when he was injured in the 2010 GF. Reckon that cost me a premiership at Norwood. Congratulations on a wonderful career. A great player and most importantly a great club man.

  24. Andrew Meaney says

    Great article Rulebook. Simon was a game changing player with the ability to kick crucial goals. Always a dangerous matchup for the opposition. A Norwood legend always Flipper

  25. Luke Reynolds says

    Great read Malcolm. Collingwood’s loss was clearly Norwood’s gain.
    Love that Norwood had to give 3 x goal kicking trophies for 2015 for 17 goals each!

  26. Great read tb. A shame injuries prevented flipper from
    Playing more afl. Will he play on at a lower level?

  27. Craig Fester Paech says

    Great Norwood Football Club man. Great Norwood Football Club career. How many other interstaters have stayed for 10+ years??
    Not too many I reckon.
    I’ll miss the coffees in the trainer’s room that Flip provided this year as well.

  28. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Weathers totally agree that injury cost you being a two club premiership player and thank you.Andrew well said.Luke our past players and officials meetings are held in the premiers bar where there is a honour board,we have had fun stirring up Mathew Bartemuchi re winning the goal kicking in 2004 with 26 goals he was the happiest person in the club re the trio tying with a v modest,17 goals.Raj Flipper is playing for,
    Myponga Sellicks aka the mudlarks in 2019.Fester v well said and it would be a interesting stat to work out
    thing there are a few Norwood folk wearing black armbands re Simons coffee off the menu thanks folks

  29. Dean Bogisch says

    Another great story Malcolm. I remember the first pre-season game that Flipper played in and I said to my long time Redlegs mate, that blonde number 12 shows a bit of toe. My mate said what blondie – we all see a game/ players from different aspects. Flipper has been a favourite of mine from day one, even when he crossed to the dark side! Flipper, All the best in life after playing for the best.

  30. Paul Harradine says

    Malcom obviously I have never seen flipper play or met the man but judging by your terrific article it seems to me that he has a good head on his shoulders and his priorities are in the right place.I would never be the one to tell someone to retire early when they obviously could still play the game at the highest level but it shows his character to put his family first and for that I salute the young man.

  31. Kevin Phillips says

    Another good read Malcolm.
    Getting delisted by Paul Roos and going to Norwood was great for him.
    Actually he was very handy with the Power but being a small forward when they were struggling was hard for him.
    Still have nightmares of the 2014 SANFL grand final where his pace and 4 goals killed the Magpies.

  32. I remember Phillips as a quick, skilful forward who was more than handy during Norwood’s SANFL dominance earlier this decade. I suspect that had Ken Hinkley been coaching him during his time at Port, he would have spent more time in the AFL. He appears to have great acumen both on-and-off the field, so the next chapter of his life is likely to be a successful one. Another good read, Rulebook!

  33. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Dean well said and thank you.Paul while I would love,Flipper to pull on the red and blue guernsey in 2019 I have enormous respect for him.Kevin still plenty of nightmares for me from last year far more pleasurable re 14.Paul agree totally.Amber and Simon huge congrats on the birth of your daughter,Kora Jade Phillips !

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