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IT IS one of the bigger shames in this year's under-18 season that injury ended Jy Simpkin's season before it had really even got going.

Simpkin played just one TAC Cup game for the Murray Bushrangers – a four-goal and 18-disposal effort in round one – before he broke his leg in a school game for Scotch College in April.

He required immediate surgery and was all but ruled out for the rest of the season straight away, which was a blow for the teenager and recruiters who hoped to see him take his game further after impressing as a bottom-ager last year.

Simpkin, an indigenous prospect from Mooroopna in country Victoria, was excellent as a 17-year-old for his state at the 2015 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, including kicking the match-winning goal after the siren to clinch a victory over Vic Metro.

He was added to the NAB AFL Academy as a member of its level two squad and impressed initially before his season was cut short. He resumed running about a month ago, and although he has taken longer than hoped to return, he is expected to be fit for the pre-season. 


Simpkin's forward play sets him apart. He's smart and twists and turns out of trouble, he is adept at reading the ball at the fall of a contest, his hands are clean and creative, and he knows his way around goal.

Simpkin has pace and likes to use it, too. He enjoys taking on opponents by grabbing the ball, tucking it under his arm and running down the wing, but he's also prepared to go the other way and lay tackles and apply forward pressure.

With a nice sidestep, Simpkin can find space easily and use his right-foot kicking to set up the play. For a half-forward who has not yet progressed into a full-time midfield role, Simpkin has excellent endurance and he has attacked his rehab program with the right mindset and attitude.  

Simpkin didn't test at the combine but his most important meeting would have been with the club doctors in his medical assessment. Given the severity of his broken leg, they would have wanted to pass him ready to go. He has suffered some setbacks in his recovery, too, with the metal rods needing to be taken out of his leg after an infection surfaced mid-year.

On the field, there may still be a question about whether he can move into the midfield more permanently, because it is not something he has done much of yet. The circumstances of this year worked against him. Some recruiters also wonder whether his size would limit him from being a midfielder at the top level.

In his ability to push up the ground and then work back to the forward line and get on the end of goals, Simpkin is a clever small forward in the same mould as Hawthorn's Luke Breust. 

Simpkin could sneak into the top 10, and has been linked with Sydney's first pick (No.9 overall). But he could also be taken early in the teens. He's unlikely to last until the second round. 

If not for his broken leg, Simpkin would have been regularly discussed as a possible top-10 pick this year. So, if medically ticked off, the injury shouldn't be a consideration and his talent will stack up. Simpkin makes things happen, is energetic and crafty.