K rock Football

Sibling advice for Simpson

Charlotte Simpson in action for the Geelong Falcons in last week’s preliminary final win over the GWV Rebels. (Geelong Falcons Image/Kelvin Gray)

CHARLOTTE Simpson hasn’t had to turn far for advice on preparing for the biggest game of her burgeoning career ahead of Sunday’s NAB League Girls Grand Final.

The Geelong Falcons midfielder is the youngster sister of Cats midfielder Sam, who featured in last year’s AFL grand final loss to Richmond.

Coming into the grand final, he told me he didn’t put too much expectation on himself,” Simpson, who is eligible to join Geelong as a father-daughter selection ahead of the 2023 season, said.

“And he tried not to get into his head that it was a grand final – treated like it was any other game of footy – and to play his role and do the best that he can.”

Simpson says the timing of the decider against the Oakleigh Chargers, to be played at Werribee, hasn’t given the match a grand final feeling.

“It’s a weird time of the year,” she said. “Usually, when I’m playing in a grand final, it’s September. So it’s early, and everyone else has been like, “is it already grand final time?”.

(But) it’s really exciting; a bit nerve-wracking.

“But, I know we have the best team we can possibly have, and everyone’s fit and ready to go.”

After being sidelined for the best part of two years, Simpson has been a vital cog in the Falcons’ engine room.

The 17-year-old  suffered a broken foot early in 2019 but has recaptured the form she showed in her early teenage years, resulting in Vic Country selection.

“I was off running for over a year,” Simpson said. “I’ve only been back running for a year now, so it was pretty hard getting some game fitness and fitness in general back.

“It’s been not too bad. I’m trying not to put too much expectation on myself as I hadn’t played in two years.

“I’m just trying to do my best and do my role for the team, which I think I’ve been doing.”

While being sidelined was far from ideal for Simpson, she admits the COVID shutdown of most football in 2020 was a blessing in disguise.

“It’s quite hard sitting on the sidelines and watching everyone play and have a good time,” she said.

“I was missing out on training and felt a bit distant from everyone, which was really tough.

“It was a probably good thing COVID happened for me because I wasn’t all good to play last year as well.

“So, it gave me that extra bit of time to get my foot right so I could strengthen it up to then be right for this season.”

Meanwhile, coach Paul Corrigan has confirmed the return of Ingrid Houtsma after she missed the preliminary final win over the GWV Rebels under the concussion protocol.

She replaces Sara Howley.

Sunday’s grand final starts at 2pm at Avalon Airport Oval in Werribee.

Twitter: @tom_king79

NAB LEAGUE GIRLS GRAND FINAL

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS vs. GEELONG FALCONS

Avalon Airport Oval – Werribee

Sunday, May 16, 2:00pm