Dockers give teen Simpson time off
Josh Simpson. Pic: WA News

First-round draft pick Josh Simpson faces a battle to feature in the NAB Challenge after being granted compassionate leave by Fremantle to attend two family funerals.

The speedy wingman was given the all-clear last week to miss several training sessions to attend a burial ceremony for his grandfather, who died close to Christmas.

The 19-year-old drove to his home in Yalgoo, about 500km north of Perth, last Wednesday to deal with family matters.

He has also spent time with relatives around nearby Mullewa.

Simpson will return to the Murchison region this weekend to attend a second funeral.

The 2012 No.17 draft pick had been pressing his case on the training track to play a role in the NAB Challenge.

The Dockers face West Coast at Arena Joondalup on February 18 and take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium eight days later.

Simpson now faces an uphill battle to press his selection case for the pre-season matches.

"Hopefully once he's been able to get back and be around the family and do what he needs to from that side, then things will go back to normal," a source said.

Simpson made one AFL appearance last season, feat- uring alongside fellow debutants Craig Moller and Alex Forster in round 23 as the Dockers fielded a severely weakened line-up against St Kilda on the eve of the finals.

He booted 11 goals in nine league appearances with East Fremantle and impressed with his speed and slick disposal, but did not play for the league side after round 14.

The teenager struggled to keep pace early with the rest of Fremantle's playing group in the first set of running trials to start the off-season and looked short of conditioning.

However, the talented teenager improved rapidly on the training track in the countdown to Christmas, with forward Michael Walters agreeing to act as a mentor to him.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West