DESPITE 17 seasons under his belt, Carlton veteran Kade Simpson is fresh as ever heading into his 2020 campaign.
The back-line stalwart will enter his third decade in the Navy Blue, where he’s on the verge of moving up to fourth in Carlton’s all-time games played list.
Speaking to SEN on Tuesday afternoon, the veteran said there was a significant change which he hadn’t been a part of previously: players impacting their own game plan.
He credited Senior Coach David Teague for making his impact felt amongst the playing group.
“He obviously gets to put a bit more of his stamp on things. I think when you take over mid-year you can’t really change too much, all the structures and that sort of thing are in place,” Simpson said.
“He’s definitely given the players a bit of a licence to design our game plan and what’s going to best suit us.
“We’ve been training and from the way we’ve been training, ‘Teaguey’ has really tried to define a game plan around us. I think it’s going really well at the moment, I know the boys are really enjoying his energy.”
A feature of Carlton’s best performances last season was how solid it was defensively.
With scoring a key focus heading into next season, Simpson is confident in the impact his defensive role has on that power in attack.
Smooth operator. 👌— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) January 20, 2020
All the best snaps from today's training session. 📷#BoundByBlue
“I think that it will change from week-to-week, but it’s no secret that we want to score more,” he said.
“A lot of your scoring opportunities can come from a good defence. There’s no secret, we probably need to work on all aspects of our game.
“We’ve sort of tinkered with everything. Sometimes you’ll play guys up around the ball, other times you’ll try and stretch teams but that will change week-to-week on the opposition.”
No stranger to a pre-season, Simpson spoke about how his preparation differed from previous years.
“It definitely gets a lot harder as you get older, but I’ve definitely found ways,” Simpson said.
“Talking with Andrew Russell our fitness boss, he sort of keeps a close eye on me and we have a great relationship where if I am a bit sore I can get a freshen up here and there.”
“You do a lot in the off-season to make sure you’re ready to go for pre-season, which then gives you the best chance to attack the season ahead.”