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Simpkin, Hrovat and Williams to make Roo debuts

Nick Bowen  March 20, 2017 5:24 PM

AFL 2017 JLT Community Series - North Melbourne v Hawthorn

Brad Scott suggested that Jy Simpkin will play the round one game against West Coast

It's certainly a new era for us. With that will certainly come some debuts [this] week.

EXCITING youngster Jy Simpkin is poised to debut for North Melbourne against West Coast at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, while recycled recruits Nathan Hrovat and Marley Williams should join him in the Roos' 22.

North coach Brad Scott signalled at the club's season launch last Friday night that some debutants would play against the Eagles, then sung the praises of Simpkin, former Western Bulldog Hrovat and ex-Magpie Williams.

"It's certainly a new era for us. With that will certainly come some debuts [this] week," Scott said.

"We're really excited to see who the 995th Shinboner is going to be to represent the North Melbourne Football Club."

Simpkin was North's first pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft at No.12 overall but had a delayed start to his first pre-season at Arden St as he recovered from a broken leg.

The former Murray Bushranger put a strong case forward for round one selection in North's final two JLT Community Series games, providing a spark in the second half of North's 21-point win over Hawthorn before impressing with 14 possessions and a clever snapped goal in the 38-point loss to Greater Western Sydney.

"Jy has made a really impressive start," Scott said.

"We were talking about him today at match committee and it's really unusual to see a young player who's got genuine outside class but also has a terrific work rate, unbelievable courage and is genuinely tough – and all those things sum up Jy."

Hrovat and Williams crossed to North in last year's trade period and have fitted in so well at Arden St they are set to make their club debuts on Sunday.

Hrovat played all three of North's JLT games and, after 30 games in four seasons at the Whitten Oval, looks capable of making an immediate impact as a high half-forward.

"Nathan Hrovat has made a terrific start to his training at North and in the first JLT games. (He's) a really important addition to our football club on the field, but just as importantly off the field with his leadership traits," Scott said.

Williams, who played 68 games in five seasons at Collingwood, looked at home in North's backline in the opening two JLT games and could be the lockdown small defender the Roos have been looking for in recent seasons.

"(Marley) has started his season really well," Scott said.

"(He is) a really strong contested ball player, we think he plays the North Melbourne way and we're looking forward to him running out for us next weekend."

Two of North's forgotten 2014 draft class, defenders Sam Durdin and Ed Vickers-Willis, are also in contention to debut against the Eagles, but the Kangaroos could opt to field an experienced backline given West Coast's potent forward line headed by Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Mark LeCras.