North Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin in the club's 2023 Indigenous guernsey. Picture: NMFC Media

JY SIMPKIN has committed his future to North Melbourne, signing a mega five-year extension on Friday that will ensure the club's co-captain will spend his best years at Arden Street.

Simpkin was due to become one of the AFL's most highly sought-after free agents next season, but the Kangaroos star initiated talks earlier this year to ensure his name would be taken off the table as soon as possible.

The five-year extension is on top of the season Simpkin already had remaining on his current contract, taking him through to at least 2029, making the deal one of the longest in the competition.

Talks had been kickstarted earlier this year when new coach Alastair Clarkson named Simpkin co-captain alongside Luke McDonald, with the gun midfielder determined to be at the forefront of the side's resurgence following its recent struggles. 

"I caught up with my manager, Dave Trotter, and we went to the club with the idea of signing on long-term given I'd just been appointed captain," Simpkin told from the club's Arden Street headquarters this week.

Jy Simpkin celebrates a goal during North Melbourne's clash against Sydney in round 10, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's a goal of mine to be the captain, alongside Luke McDonald, for a long time at this footy club. Taking out that free agency decision and signing a long-term contract, being at this club for another six years, that was my goal.

"I want to captain this club for as long as I can and get us out of the hole we're in. I'm just really excited for the future of the club and I really want to be one of the people that is talked about when you speak about North Melbourne turning it around."

Simpkin's deal means that only two players – Carlton forward Harry McKay and Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver, both signed to 2030 – have longer contracts, highlighting the level of commitment shown between both player and club.

It also means the 25-year-old won't have to deal with the talk of a lingering free agency decision next year, something he wanted to shelve as early as possible after being appointed the club's co-captain in January.

"Being appointed the co-captain, I don't want to do that for one or two years," Simpkin said.


"If I was still captain next year, going through all of the controversies of free agency and all of that talk … I knew it would rabble on. I was pretty keen to get it over and done with as quickly as possible and put it behind me."

Already a 124-game player at North Melbourne and a two-time Syd Barker Medal winner as the club's best and fairest, Simpkin now has another individual milestone on his agenda having sorted out his long-term future.

"I'd always see, at the end of every year, the guys like Jack Ziebell, Robbie Tarrant and Scott Thompson … they'd get their life memberships. Looking up to those guys when you're a young player, you think, 'Shit, that would be pretty cool'," Simpkin said.

"To do that here, you have to play for 10 years and you have to play a game in each of those 10 years. It's something I've always looked forward to, being in a position to do that. Now it's all coming to life, which is pretty crazy."

Jy Simpkin handballs during North Melbourne's clash against St Kilda in round eight, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

North Melbourne made an impressive start to the season, with Clarkson guiding the rebuilding Kangaroos to successive victories over West Coast and Fremantle throughout the campaign's opening fortnight.

But while eight straight defeats might have tempered the excitement, promising debut seasons from last year's first-round picks Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw have Simpkin of the belief that things are tracking in the right direction.

"We've brought in Todd Viney, Cam Matthews and obviously 'Clarko' as coach, and you see our young guys come in and play so well with Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw, so I'm really excited about the future of the club," Simpkin said.

"With 'Clarko' on board, you can really sense where the group is going and the confidence within the young guys growing. I know the last month hasn't been great, but that's going to happen with a young team and with a new coach and learning our new gameplan.

"We understand it's not just going to go straight up in nice levels straight to the top. We understand there are going to be ups and downs and, early days, there are going to be more downs than ups. But I can definitely see the blocks growing."

North Melbourne will again be led by interim coach Brett Ratten this week, as Clarkson remains on indefinite leave after stepping away from the game to focus on his mental health amid the ongoing Hawthorn investigation.

Alastair Clarkson (left) chats with Brett Ratten during North Melbourne's practice match against the Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park on March 4, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Simpkin hasn't spoken to Clarkson since he stepped aside last Thursday, but said he had messaged his coach to show his support and backed the side's developing playing group to persevere through the next period.

"I sent him a message saying that I hoped he got well soon and told him to not bother about replying. I think he's put his phone away and really just focused on his mental health," Simpkin said.

"Obviously, it's been a really challenging eight or nine months for him since the investigation stuff came out. We're behind him fully and supporting him as much as he needs. At the moment, time by himself with his family is best for him. We'll be ready for him to come back whenever he's ready.

"At the end of the day, we can't feel sorry for ourselves and have that sad cry of 'why me?' or 'why us?' We've got to get on with business. 'Clarko' is the one that's hurting and we feel for him.

"We just have to keep getting on with the job to make his life easier and to make our lives easier. Then, when he does come back, we're all on the same page and heading forward and taking those steps towards our future and where we want to get to."