AFL journeyman Dawson Simpson has announced that the 2019 season will be his last after 12 years at the elite level.
After almost joining the Army as a teenager, Simpson was encouraged to pursue football and was drafted by the Geelong Cats in the 2007 national draft.
Over eight seasons at Kardinia Park, the now 30-year-old played 28 AFL games for the Cats and was part of the club’s 2012 VFL premiership.
Simpson joined the GIANTS as an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2015 and made an impressive debut for the club in round 19, 2017 winning 44 hit outs.
He has played 47 AFL games in total and was a key part of the club’s NEAFL premiership in 2016.
A qualified personal trainer, Simpson also runs weekly fitness classes for the staff at the club while his wife Allira works in the club’s community department.
GIANTS General Manager of Football Wayne Campbell paid tribute to Simpson.
“The GIANTS and Geelong footy clubs are better places for having Dawson be a part of them,” he said.
“Daws is one of those people who becomes the heart and soul of a football club and the impact he and his family have had in four years at the GIANTS is immense.
"He will be sorely missed due to his character, work ethic and resilience. He will leave a hole on-field, off-field and in the gym where he has kept our staff in shape over the past few years.
“We wish Dawson, Allira and their kids Isla and Nash nothing but the best in their next adventure.”
Simpson said he can look back on his career with contentment.
“I probably haven’t achieved what I wanted to when it comes to games played, but I think the resilience I’ve been taught has created a man that can make a difference outside of football,” he said.
“I think that had I had an armchair ride or a cruisey career, I wouldn’t be the same person today. I wouldn't have the same depth and resilience in my character if I didn't have the setbacks I had and the injuries I've had.
“I look back on my career happy with what I’ve been able to achieve over the past 12 seasons and striving for those last couple of games and the ultimate success this year.
“The friendships I’ve made at both the Cats and the GIANTS will last for a lifetime and that’s one of things I look back on with the greatest fondness.”
Simpson joins veteran Brett Deledio in announcing his retirement at the end of the season.
The GIANTS take on the Western Bulldogs at GIANTS Stadium on Sunday at 3:20pm.