GEELONG VFL coach Dale Amos says talk that Geelong Cats rookie Joffy Simpkin could earn an AFL call-up is justified.
Football followers expect the Colac-raised Simpkin to be next in line for promotion after Geelong declared Mitch Brown would not play again this season.
The club could place Brown on the long-term injury list along with fellow Cat Billie Smedts – meaning it could upgrade two rookie-listed players.
Amos said Simpkin’s experience – having played two seasons at Sydney Swans – and his stellar season to date had held him in strong stead.
The 23-year-old kicked the year off in impressive form since the Cats rookie selected him in December’s rookie draft, and the midfielder-small forward played in all the Cats’ pre-season NAB Cup matches.
He has played a consistent role in Geelong’s VFL team despite its 2-10 record, featuring in the best players six times from his 12 games.
“He’s had a really solid season, his footy’s improved a lot over the course of the year,” Amos said.
“Ultimately, the club will make a decision whether he’s a chance to play senior football but he’s had a good NAB cup and a good season,” he said.
“He’s the more mature out of all rookies and I’d say physically he’s in the best place to play AFL footy.
“I expect all those things would be taken into consideration.”
First and second-year Cats Josh Walker, George Burbury, injured Jesse Stringer and Jack Weston and former basketballer Ryan Bathie are other rookies in with a chance.
“Purely by experience, Joff is the best fit to play AFL footy, most of those guys are kids who are just starting to carve out their careers,” Amos said.
“Most of them haven’t quite had that development,” he said.
Brown, who has battled shoulder problems and a broken leg since being drafted in 2008, will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.
The 20-year-old reinjured his right shoulder, which he already had reconstructed last year, in the Cats’ first loss of the season against Essendon.