Plenty has changed for ruckman Dawson Simpson in the last four months including a new city, a new club and a new member of his family.
With his three-month-old daughter Isla and partner Allira here in Sydney with him now, Simpson has put off-season shoulder surgery behind him and is relishing his new home.
"You want to make a good impression when you come to a new club and it is hard to do when you’re just doing rehab running," said the 26 year-old after his first full session back with the main group on Wednesday.
“I’ve been put in dribs and drabs as far as the pre-season has gone with my shoulder so far but now I’m really enjoying being amongst the boys.”
Simpson played 28 games in his eight seasons at Geelong, and despite being nervous about moving to “the big smoke”, the new father said he and his family have settled well into Sydney.
“My little daughter Isla is a little darling and it’s good having her here and my partner Allira is doing a great job with her so life’s good at the moment.”
Ruck and clearance coach Dean Brogan said Simpson is a welcome addition to the GIANTS’ ruck stocks.
“We saw last year when Mummy (Shane Mumford) went down, we didn’t really have a plan B with an experienced guy but we gave some opportunities to young guys which will hold us in good stead for this year and years to come,” said Brogan.
"It is good to know we’ve got a big guy (Simpson) who’s been around at a great club like Geelong and sitting there on the list. It puts pressure on Mumford to get himself right and get himself going as we have good stock here and I’m really excited to be working with them."
It’s been an extended off-season for Mumford, with the 2014 Kevin Sheedy medallist missing the second half of last season after ankle surgery.
Brogan, who lined up for the GIANTS in 2012 and 2013, is confident Mumford will return to his best form in 2016.
“He knows how to manage his body pretty well,” said Brogan.
“He’s back in the main group now and looking really good, he’s got his skin folds down and is looking really fit so he’s timing his run perfectly.
“We have to wrap him in cotton wool a bit as when you turn the ‘dirty thirties’ in the ruck ages, it does catch up with you a bit but he’s jumping out of his skin and he’s helping the young guys as well.
“There’s no doubt he’s our number one man still but he’s got people coming after him pretty quickly which is healthy and competitive for our group."
With young ruck trio Rory Lobb, Tom Downie and Matthew Flynn all improving their games during the pre-season, the GIANTS’ big man stocks are looking good for years to come.
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