Docker s future under cloud
Docker's future under cloud

The immediate playing future of Fremantle youngster Josh Simpson was in limbo last night after it was revealed he refused to join his teammates on their Thursday flight to Sydney.

The 20-year-old was selected as the Dockers' travelling emergency for today's clash with the Swans at the SCG, but did not arrive at Perth airport.

When a club official rang him, Simpson told him he wouldn't be travelling.

Simpson's refusal to board the plane forced Fremantle into an embarrassing backflip on the eve of their crucial match.

Earlier in the day, Dockers football operations general manager Chris Bond told afl. com.au "Josh failed to meet certain club requirements during the week, and as a result was not available at selection at either level of football this weekend".

But later in the afternoon, Bond confirmed that the 2012 first-round draft selection had pulled out of the flight.

"We're dealing with a few issues with Josh over a period of time," Bond told _The Weekend West _. "He was to be our travelling emergency and then advised us very late before the flight that he wasn't going to travel.

"From there, we're just working with him now to continue to assist with those issues."

Simpson is expected to meet with club officials early next week to learn the repercussions of his latest indiscretion.

He had been squeezed out of the side due to the availability of Nat Fyfe (suspension) and Chris Mayne (ankle). The incident is a major setback for Simpson, who gathered 13 disposals as the substitute in last Sunday's demolition of Essendon.

It was his second game for the club after making his debut against St Kilda in round 23 last year.

Simpson has struggled at times to adapt to the standards placed on the Dockers list under coach Ross Lyon. He was in and out of the league side at East Fremantle last year and was granted leave during the pre-season to return to his home town of Yalgoo.

Hayden Crozier replaced Simpson as the side's emergency.

The Dockers are on red alert for a return to form from Sydney when the two teams clash this afternoon, according to mid- fielder Tendai Mzungu.

The Swans are under pressure after winning just one of their first four matches, with Norm Smith medallist Ryan O'Keefe dropped after indifferent form and the Sydney players holding a midweek meeting to demand more from each other.

Speedster Gary Rohan was also dumped.

"The heat has been on them and a proud club like Sydney will respond," Mzungu said.

"We know that. It's up to us to come out prepared and we can't be surprised with the start."

"He was to be our travelling emergency and then advised us very late … he wasn't going to travel.""Fremantle football operations general manager *Chris Bond * * *


The West Australian

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