Career: 1989 - 1991
Debut : Round 15, 1989 vs Collingwood, aged 20 years, 80 days
Carlton Player No. 962
Games : 19
Goals : 50
Last Game: Round 24, 1991 vs Richmond, aged 22 years, 126 days
Guernsey Nos. 53 (1989) and 29 (1990-91)
Height: 190 cm (6 ft. 2 in.)
Weight: 83 kg (13 stone, 1 lb.)
DOB : 26 April, 1969
Tasmanian-born Simon Minton-Connell spent time on the lists of four AFL clubs - Carlton, Sydney, Hawthorn and Footscray - in a ten-season career from 1989 to 1998. A capable, accurate full-forward, he was the nephew of Hawthorn’s legendary Peter Hudson, and to date, the only player in Carlton’s history to have worn guernsey number 53 in a senior appearance for the Blues.
Nicknamed ‘SMC’, Minton-Connell first attracted Carlton’s attention as a dashing defender for North Hobart and Tasmania in the elite Teal Cup competition. He was drafted by the Blues at number 38 in the 1986 National Draft, and spent two seasons with Carlton’s Under 19 and Reserve teams. During that time, he was trialled as a key forward, where he discovered an aptitude (and a considerable hunger) for scoring goals.
Eventually, he was called into Carlton’s senior team for his debut as a reserve in the Blues’ last-gasp round 15 victory over Collingwood at Waverley Park in July, 1989. Wearing the afore-mentioned number 53, Minton-Connell spent most of the day on the bench, and like everyone in his team, was overjoyed when rover Andrew Phillips kicked a late goal to snatch the match for the Blues.
In 1990, Simon switched to guernsey number 29 and played eight senior games for a reasonable return of 26 goals. He was not particularly quick across the ground, but he was a strong mark and a bankable kick for goal inside fifty metres. Also quite nimble at ground level for his size, he always seemed to know where the goal-mouth was.
In some compensation for a disappointing year for Carlton, our Reserves team won the Premiership in 1990, beating Melbourne by 18 points in the curtain-raiser to that year’s Collingwood – Essendon Grand Final. On the biggest football stage of all, in front of 90,000 fans, Minton-Connell impressed with five goals at full-forward, and seemed on the verge of a regular place in the senior team in ’91.
However, that most elusive of requisites for a footballer – consistency – deserted him in his time of need. Although 24 goals in ten outings appeared to be another solid effort, he struggled all year to play two good games in succession. And when Carlton’s committee informed him that he was to be traded to the Sydney Swans (in a three-way deal with Fitzroy, to allow Greg Williams to return to Princes Park) Minton-Connell accepted that he was better off seeking a fresh start at a new club.
Although Sydney were enduring some of their bleakest days, Minton-Connell’s move north proved a wise decision, and his form for them was excellent over the next three seasons. The Swans won a total of eight games throughout 1992, ’93 and ’94 - which made Minton-Connell’s effort of 168 majors in 46 games (an average of 3.65 goals per match) something quite outstanding.
Even so, in 1995, SMC was on the move again - this time to Glenferrie Oval. At first, Hawthorn hoped he could be a dangerous double act up forward with their champion spearhead Jason Dunstall, but the idea never came to fruition. Instead, the Hawks played him at centre half-back – so a somewhat disillusioned Simon bid farewell to Glenferrie Oval after 22 games that produced 34 goals.
At the age of 28 in 1997, Minton-Connell joined his fourth club when Footscray gambled that his experience would be valuable to their young side. He became the focal point in attack at the Western Oval, and contributed another 53 majors in 25 matches for the Bulldogs, to round off his career total at 112 games and 305 goals.
Yet Simon was far from finished. He went back to playing suburban football in Melbourne, and in 1999 spearheaded Balwyn’s defeat of Noble Park in the Eastern Football League Grand Final. In 2000, he spent one season with Doutta Stars in the Essendon District Football League, before crossing to the Stars’ neighbours and traditional rivals, Aberfeldie.
During the following three seasons with the Two Blues, Minton-Connell kicked over 300 goals – including 121 in 2002. He was the dominant player of the competition that year, but cruelly, tore a thigh muscle in the first minutes of the Grand Final against Oak Park, and Aberfeldie - the raging-hot flag favourites - were well beaten.
In 2004, SMC switched clubs again to Moonee Valley for one season, before finally retiring in 2005 – at the age of 35 – as Best and Fairest and Leading Goal-kicker with North Old Boys/ St Patrick’s in the VAFA. Season 2006 saw him back at Aberfeldie as senior coach, and as at October, 2010, Minton-Connell remains heavily involved in grass-roots football as General Manager of the Fitzroy Stars Football Club.
Career Highlights1988 - U/19's Equal 3rd Best & Fairest
1989 - Reserves Equal 7th Best & Fairest
1989 - Reserves Leading Goalkicker (club and competition)
1990 - Reserves Premiership Player
LinksArticles: The Magical 'Three Goal Average' | Trading for Williams | The BIG Numbers | The Fish that Got Away | The Carlton Hyphens
Blueseum: Stat Shot for Simon Minton-Connell | Career Breakdown | Minton-Connell's Blueseum Image Gallery