Fremantle have given troubled forward Josh Simpson a one-week break, and a financial penalty, in the hope he will rediscover his commitment to the AFL club.
Simpson was sanctioned by the Dockers for his decision to belatedly withdraw from the travelling party to play Sydney at the SCG last Saturday.
In addition to being fined an undisclosed sum for not meeting club requirements, Simpson will only be available to be selected for his WAFL club Peel from next week. The club will monitor his progress before welcoming him back to the AFL team.
“Josh is away from the club at our direction at present and will remain so until next Tuesday,” Dockers football manager Chris Bond told the club website.
“He is able to return to training at that time and be available to be selected to play for Peel from next weekend.
“Under the terms of his contract and the AFL’s player Contract Bargaining Agreement, Josh will also be fined an undisclosed sum for the second time in four months for not meeting club requirements.”
There was no time frame set for Simpson's return.
“That will be determined by his ability to demonstrate the behaviour required of a player at this club for a sustained period of time,” Bond told the website.
“We will continue to provide every resource necessary to ensure that Josh continues to develop both personally and professionally, so he is best placed to meet the challenges he faces in becoming an elite player in the AFL.”
In a statement released by the AFL Players Association, Simpson said he was determined to fix his mistake.
“I have had a lot of time to think about my actions and the consequences this may have had on my career,” he said.
“I am motivated to be an AFL player and with the continued support of the football club I will make the most of this opportunity given to me.”
His manager Jason Dover said there were a number of issues associated with Simpson’s decision not to fly last week and it was not as simple as the young speedster “dropping his bundle” as suggested by Dockers coach Ross Lyon at the weekend.
He said the young Yalgoo father had taken his clip and was prepared to do the work to earn back the trust of his teammates.
“Josh made a poor decision last week which was clouded by a number of ongoing personal, family and health issues,” Dover said.
“Over the past few days we have had a number of positive discussions with management at the club to have Josh back into an environment where he can fulfil his undoubted potential and make the most of his AFL career.
“The Fremantle Football Club has allocated a tremendous amount of resources to help Josh and we appreciate their offer to continue this support.”