“HE’S BEEN one of our icons really, in the last 15-16 years.”

Carlton’s greatest ever player couldn’t have been more glowing in his praise for Kade Simpson.

Simpson will officially go past John Nicholls’ games tally on Saturday night when he plays his 329th game.

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Nicholls on his admiration for 'Simmo'

As Kade Simpson is set to move past John Nicholls in Carlton games played this weekend, we take a look back on what he had to say about 'Simmo' the person.

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Having won the John Nicholls Medal in 2013, Simpson’s standing at Ikon Park was praised by the award’s namesake when speaking to Carlton Media in 2018.

In the extended interview, Nicholls said that the appreciation between Simpson and club was a two-way street.

“He obviously loves the Club and the Club loves him,” Nicholls said.

“He’s such a bright, friendly guy and a great team man. He talks well. He’s an ideal player that you love to recruit and have on your list because he’s such a good role model.

“When you bring young kids in, you need someone to lead the way. He’s been one of our leaders.”

Perhaps above all else, Nicholls’ leadership at Carlton sets him apart from the rest, as a premiership player and/or coach in 1968, 1970 and 1972.

The official AFL Legend said Simpson’s status as a leader ensured he was part of Carlton royalty.

“I love him so much because he’s not just a game player that comes and goes: he’s there all the time,” he said.

“What he’s done along the way with being one of our team leaders — he’s a great team leader, respected.

“It’s not always easy to be respected, but ‘Simmo’ is.”

In June 2018, Simpson said he was humbled to be in the same iconic photo as the other members of the 300 club: Craig Bradley, Bruce Doull, Nicholls and Stephen Silvagni.

On the flip side, Nicholls said that Simpson’s games tally was simply “the icing on the cake”.

“He will be regarded as a great 300-game player that’s won a best and fairest and been a great leader,” he said.

“He’s done so much more for this club by being ‘Simmo’ and being a genuine guy.”