The AFL is a cut-throat environment. You work so hard to make it to the top, and if you’re not performing, you may lose your chance to fulfil a lifelong dream.
Changes in coaching staff inevitably means altered training styles, game plans, cultural shifts and new personal relationships, and if you can’t adapt, you don’t survive.
Jy Simpkin has not just adapted to the rigours of the AFL game, but he’s thriving. At just 23 years of age he’s a member of the North Melbourne leadership group, a key cog in the midfield and in the midst of a career-best season.
“I realised pretty quickly (when arriving at the club) if you’re not on board with where the team’s going and what the coaches want, you’ll be pretty quickly out the door,” Simpkin said on the recent Member Q&A, presented by AIA Vitality.
“I jumped in and tried to give myself to the club as much as I can, and give everything for this club, because at the end of the day they gave me the opportunity to do what I love.
“Now I’m just trying to repay the faith in them and do the best I can.”
It looks as though all of North’s list are giving their all to the club, and every player is pulling in the same direction under the guidance of David Noble.
One overwhelming attribute of the 2021 season is the sheer positivity coming from inside the club, and the full faith and belief in its direction.
Simpkin says the playing group has remained positive throughout the season, even when results haven’t been falling their way.
“The spirits have been pretty good all year. If you walked into the club off the streets you wouldn’t think we’re bottom of the ladder,” he said.
“That’s a big thing for us as a footy club, led by the coaching staff and the leaders here, all the way down to the guys in the VFL.
“Everyone’s upbeat, we know the direction we want to go in. We’re sticking to the process and we’re seeing improvements week in, week out.
“[That] allows us to stay positive and upbeat, and we’re slowly getting to where we want to be,”
To hear Simpkin discuss the development of Tarryn Thomas, different leadership styles and how he gained his lethal side step, tune into the latest Member Q&A.