GEELONG Cats assistant coach Nigel Lappin says Colac AFL export Joffy Simpkin was unlucky to lose his senior spot.
The club announced yesterday it had taken forward Daniel Menzel off the long-term injury list yesterday, taking Simpkin’s spot on the list.
Jesse Stringer will remain elevated for injured ruckman Nathan Vardy.
Rookies Simpkin and Stringer earned senior call-ups during the past 12 months after Menzel and Vardy joined the injury list.
But with Menzel set to return to the field in the Cats’ VFL clash against North Ballarat this weekend, Simpkin lost his senior spot despite impressing in his first senior game at the weekend.
“We were pleased with what he gave us against Western Bulldogs, it’s difficult to come on in your first game as a sub but he acquitted himself well,” he said.
“We’re really excited about what he’s done, he’s improved a lot in the VFL so he deserved his chance.”
Simpkin is again eligible for AFL selection as a nominated rookie after the mid-season bye.
Lappin said Simpkin earned his first call-up after midfielder James Kelly failed to pass a fitness test before the round nine clash at Etihad Stadium.
He said the 24-year-old had improved in leaps and bounds over the past 18 months, working closely at training with skipper and triple-premiership player Joel Selwood.
“Ultimately he fitted the bill as a midfielder who can win his own footy and breaks the lines well out of packs,” he said.
“But Joffy’s really improved in all the areas we’ve asked him to – we couldn’t really ask for much more so we like to reward those.
“He’s worked on those deficiencies in his game and turned himself into a real Geelong-type player so we were happy to reward him.”
Lappin said Simpkin’s senior experience, both in Geelong’s NAB Cup games, VFL and during his years at Sydney, bode well in his selection.