K rock Football

Shoulder surgery for Sam

Sam Simpson (right) embraces Geelong captain Joel Selwood following the preliminary final win over Brisbane. (AFL Photos Image/Michael Willson)

FINALS revelation Sam Simpson is unlikely to feature in Geelong’s first pre-season match as he continues his recovery from shoulder surgery.

The 22-year-old, who was knocked out late in the Cats’ grand final loss to Richmond during a marking contest with teammate Sam Menegola, is expected to be sidelined until March.

Geelong plays Essendon to open the AFL Community Series on February 18 before taking on St Kilda at Moorabbin on March 4.

“It’s going to be a pretty long rehab period with the injury that he’s got,” assistant coach Nigel Lappin said. “He’ll be a slower start to the season.

“It’s a 4-5 month recovery process, we’ve been told. But what you find with some of those younger guys is they heal pretty quickly, and he’s very diligent with the way that he does things.

“So I’d expect him to be not far away.”

After being stuck on six games for nearly two years, Simpson forced his way into the team in Round 6 and posted a career-high 27 disposals in Geelong’s 27-point win over the Brisbane Lions at the SCG.

He played every game until Round 10 and re-appeared again in Round 12 before a hamstring injury forced him to the sideline for six weeks.

Simpson then showed enough in a scratch match to replace Tom Atkins for the semi-final win over Collingwood, where he had 16 disposals and laid four tackles.

“He played a really important role for us at the back end of the year and was a really good player.

“He’s developed really well over the last couple of years and really took his chance this year.”

CATS TO OPEN 2021 INTERSTATE

Lappin says with Simpson likely to miss the clash with Essendon on February 18 the door is open for someone else to take his spot against the Bombers.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing who puts their name up for that position.

“The senior guys coming in (to training post-Christmas) are going to help us, and if they’re in really good physical shape, then they’ll be playing in our team.

“But we also want our improvement to come from those kids that develop and come on over another pre-season, so we’re excited about that.”

Midfielder Brandan Parfitt underwent surgery in late October after playing with a broken thumb in the grand final.

However, he is not expected to be impacted when he and the other players with more than four years experience officially commence training on January 6.

Twitter: @tom_king79