KADE Simpson is about to finish his 18th pre-season, but it has not gotten any easier since 2003.
The game has changed a lot since Simpson arrived at Ikon Park nearly two decades ago, with the training demands and standards arguably top of the pile.
Speaking to Triple M’s Hot Breakfast, the 325-games said both the off-season and pre-season had ramped up considerably in previous years.
“The guys these days probably do a bit more in their off-season than we used to do when I first started,” Simpson said.
“It used to be a real holiday mode in the off-season and then you come back and have a full pre-season to get fit.
“Now, you’re training for all of the off-season and you come back to be ready to go.”
A warrior in Navy Blue for year upon year, Simpson has the belief that the playing group is in good stead to climb the ladder this season.
Referencing Richmond’s unexpected jump from 2016 to 2017, Simpson has hope that things can click for Carlton in a timely fashion.
“Richmond the year before they did their quick jump, they were outside the finals… that definitely gives us a lot of hope,” he said.
“Everything can change really quickly: I think the work we’ve put in this pre-season is going to hold us in good stead.”
On the eve of the 2020 season, Simpson finds himself on the verge of entering the top three for all-time games played in the Navy Blue.
Just three games behind Carlton’s greatest ever player in John Nicholls, Simpson said it was an honour and something he’s still coming to terms with.
“That photo which was quite well-documented with Silvagni, Doull, Bradley and Nicholls is something I’ll cherish once I retire, that’s for sure,” he said.
“It’s a bit surreal when you mention those guys.”