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Hawks flag winner set to become latest Dons' top-up player

Jonathan Simpkin with Jarryd Roughead and Liam Shiels after the 2013 Grand Final - ${keywords}
Jonathan Simpkin with Jarryd Roughead and Liam Shiels after the 2013 Grand Final

FOOTBALL journeyman Jonathan Simpkin is set to continue his career at a fourth AFL club, with the ex-Hawthorn premiership midfielder poised to become an Essendon top-up player. understands the 28-year-old has agreed to follow ex-Dockers tagger Ryan Crowley and former Geelong star James Kelly to Tullamarine.

Tall order for Dons

The move will revive a remarkable football odyssey for the rugged onballer after he was delisted by the Hawks at the end of last season.

Simpkin managed 33 games in brown and gold, including the 2013 premiership triumph when he was the starting substitute, having been recruited as a delisted free agent after four games for Geelong the previous year.

He started his career at the elite level back in 2006 when he was rookie-listed by the Sydney Swans.

Simpkin played all but one of his matches for the Hawks during the 2013 and '14 seasons, with the prolific ball-winner struggling to get a look-in last season despite outstanding form at Box Hill – where he won the best and fairest.

The Dons are gradually fulfilling their desire to recruit experienced campaigners to replace the dozen players slapped with season-long suspensions for doping offences by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week.

Essendon can sign up to 10 top-up players, with former Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar among the players on the Bombers' radar to provide support to a youthful squad.

The Bombers have until March 15 to finalise their list for the coming season.