One of the greatest ruckmen to play the game, Simon Madden played in the last six games in 1974, slotting into the team as a forward pocket and relief ruckman and delighted fans with his big marking and goalkicking. He kicked 18 goals and won the best first-year player award.

By the time he was just 22, he was already captain of Essendon, replacing Ken Fletcher. But a succession of injuries and illness sapped his strength and stamina in his first year as skipper and after a disappointing year in 1981, he was replaced as captain.

Madden won Essendon's best and fairest in 1977, 1979, 1983 and 1984 and finished third in the award in 1978. Only Dick Reynolds and Bill Hutchison have collected the best and fairest more times. He headed the Dons' goalkickers in 1980 with 45 goals and in 1982 with 49, and was second highest in 1977, 1979 and 1981 and third best in 1976 and 1978.

He finished third in the Brownlow Medal in 1983 with 22 votes and was also the Dons' top vote-getter in 1977 with 24 votes and in 1984 with 14 votes. He was in the ruck in the 1984 and 1985 premiership teams and he won the Norm Smith Medal for being best on the ground in the 1985 triumph.

Madden was also on the interchange bench and captain of the 1981 night premiership team and was in the ruck in the 1984 night premiership team. He has always had difficulty adjusting to night conditions because he wore contact lenses.

He was chosen in the interstate team in 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1987 - equal fourth for the most interstate years of any Essendon player. He played in nine interstate games and earned All-Australian selection in 1983, 1984 and 1987. 

Career statistics

Played: 1974 -1992
Games: 378
Goals: 575
Premiership player: 1984, 1985
Finals games played: 20
Norm Smith Medal: 1985
Top-five Brownlow Medal finishes: 1983, 1984, 1988
Career Brownlow Medal votes: 139
Essendon best and fairest: 1977, 1979, 1983, 1984
Top-five Essendon best and fairest: 1977-79, 1983, 1988
Essendon captain: 1980-81 (55 games)
Essendon vice-captain: 1979, 1989, 1990
Essendon leading goalkicker: 1980, 1982, 1991
All Australian: 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988
Night premiership appearances: 1981, 1984, 1990