It’s clear Jy Simpkin loves the North Melbourne Football Club. From his passion on the field, to being lost for words upon winning the Syd Barker Medal, he’s a committed Kangaroo.

That’s why the news of his contract extension, while exhilarating, is unsurprising. 

The 12th selection at the 2016 NAB AFL Draft, Simpkin’s leadership and maturity is rare for his age, with the midfielder still just 23 years of age.“I’ve signed on until the end of 2024 which is really exciting … I’ve been committed to North for a long time and they’ve given a lot to me,” Simpkin told North Media.

“I’ve worked to get into the position where I am today to be at this club. I’m really faithful to the club and I’m really looking forward to the future.

“If we can keep this mix going and keep the energy and vibes around the club … I’ve got no doubt in my mind we’ll be playing September footy quicker than what other people think.”

Simpkin’s extension will come as good news to North fans, with the midfielder looking to back up his first Syd Barker Medal with another strong year.

His late season form saw him storm home to claim victory over fellow midfielder Ben Cunnington, as he went one better from his second-placed finish from 2020.“Winning the Syd, it’s a massive honour … at the time I was pretty shocked and speechless,” Simpkin said.

“It’s something you dream of as a kid, growing up to make AFL and play AFL, but to win a best-and-fairest is just a massive honour.

“I see it as a bit of a reward for the hard work over the past few years … I’ve put my head down, bum up and worked as hard as I could.

“Just to think my name’s up there forever with some of the greats of the game, it’s pretty special.”

With almost 100 games under his belt, Simpkin is the figurehead of North’s crop of young midfielders coming through, with the number 12 crucial in helping the development of the likes of Tom Powell, Will Phillips and Luke Davies-Uniacke.

The father figure of this young group of on-ballers though is Cunnington, with the two-time best and fairest winner providing a guiding hand to Simpkin as he continues to navigate the early stages of his career.

Simpkin says the emotion North’s clearance king showed at the Syd Barker Medal count is a glimpse into who he really is.“He’s (Cunnington) got this big persona off-field where he’s this big angry man who doesn’t speak to people … or just gets fishing and does what he does,” Simpkin added. 

“Everyone got an insight into what ‘Cunners’ is actually like, he’s such a genuine bloke and he cares so much about the players, the coaches and everyone at the club.

“It was pretty emotional on the night. Luckily he wasn’t in the studio, because I probably wouldn’t have been able to speak, I would have given him a hug and cried with him.

“I love ‘Cunners’. He’s helped me so much in the last few years to get me where I am today. He’s an awesome fella.”