An exciting combo midfielder, Jy Simpkin is equally as comfortable winning the contested football at the coalface as he is providing outside run and carry for his side.
After playing 13 games in his debut season – which was interrupted by mid-season shoulder surgery – the young midfielder has never missed more than one game in a campaign, a nod not only to his consistent ability and fitness, but his fair on-field nature.
With Ben Cunnington missing for much of the 2020 season, Simpkin had to step up and lead his fellow midfielders. Despite being just 22 years of age for much of the year, it’s a task he welcomed with maturity and composure, elevating his own game in a tough period for the club, coming second in the Syd Barker Medal.
North Melbourne debut: Round 1, 2017
Career Brownlow votes: 10
2021: Elevated to the post of co-vice-captain alongside Luke McDonald in 2021, the high esteem in which Simpkin is held by his teammates is obvious.
Often seen as the link between the club’s oldest and youngest players, the added responsibility of leadership did nothing but positively impact Simpkin’s on-field performances in 2021.
Setting per game career-high averages for disposals (26.9), marks (4.4), tackles (3.8), clearances (5.1), disposal efficiency (70.3 per cent), score involvements (4.8) and intercepts (3.1), his improvement across all metrics of the midfield was immense, suddenly launching himself into a new tier of ability.
His brilliant individual campaign was rewarded at the end of the year, as he won his first Syd Barker Medal by 26 votes, as well as the Glenn Archer Shinboner of the Year Award.
After such rapid improvement in 2021, Simpkin put the rest of the competition on notice about the quality and game-breaking ability he now brings to the table. From a personal standpoint, he’ll certainly be hoping to put his name amongst some of the competition’s best midfielders in 2022.