Walters keen for Simpson to step up
Josh Simpson. Pic: WA News

Injured Fremantle forward Michael Walters says it's time for youngster Josh Simpson to step up and focus on his family.

Speaking at a National Sorry Day event in Perth yesterday, Walters said he was desperate to return this season after having ankle surgery last month.

And Walters, who coach Ross Lyon hopes will return in round 18, is working on being a stronger player when he does return.

"I want to work as hard as I can to make myself not only a better player for finals, but a better player for me," he said.

Walters spoke about the brotherhood among the Aboriginal players at Fremantle ahead of this weekend's AFL Indigenous Round and said he had been trying to work with Simpson all season.

Simpson has fallen out of favour since failing to board a flight as a travelling emergency for the round-five game against Sydney.

Walters was also banished from the club in 2012 for not meeting team requirements, but returned to become one of the Dockers' most important players.

"He's improving, he's the type of kid that he does work hard when he wants to work hard, but it's the sort of thing where he has to do it multiple times, rather than just for a week or two," Walters said.

"I struggled with it, but now it's time for him to step up and focus on his family.

"He has got two kids and there is no better way to make money than by playing something you love.

"You have got to sort of massage it in and the sooner he learns the rigours of AFL, the better we are going to be as a team because he's a good player with extreme talent."

Meanwhile, Western Bulldogs ruckman Will Minson says his team cannot afford to have any lapses if it wishes to remain competitive in 2014.

The Bulldogs host Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with key defender Luke McPharlin nearing a return for the Dockers after missing the past two games with a quad strain.

"Importantly, if we stick to the game plan for longer, we've proven that when we play the way we're supposed to, we can match it with most sides," Minson said.

The West Australian

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