Saints' Webster in trouble for high bump on Simpkin

By Shayne Hope
Updated March 3 2024 - 6:05pm, first published 6:01pm
St Kilda's Jimmy Webster faces likely suspension after a high bump on Kangaroo Jy Simpkin. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)
St Kilda's Jimmy Webster faces likely suspension after a high bump on Kangaroo Jy Simpkin. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

St Kilda defender Jimmy Webster faces almost certain suspension for a high bump on North Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin in an AFL practice match.

Webster leapt off the ground and collected Simpkin's head with a hip-and-shoulder bump during the first quarter of the clash at RSEA Park on Sunday.

The Saints dominated early and resisted a second-half fightback as they squeezed out an 11.18 (84) to 10.5 (65) win in their final tune-up for the home-and-away season.

But key defender Dougal Howard limped off late with a hamstring injury, and the Saints' fall-out will also likely include Webster being sent straight to the tribunal for a late bump that left Simpkin dazed after kicking into North's forward line.

Kangaroos players rushed to remonstrate with Webster and a melee spilled over the boundary line while Simpkin lay on the ground.

The 25-year-old, who was concussed twice last season, was attended to by medical staff before eventually walking off the field and was soon ruled out of action for the rest of the match.

"I just saw (Simpkin) then and he seemed fine. He watched the game from the bench in the second half," Kangaroos assistant coach Xavier Clarke said post-match.

"He'll enter concussion protocols from here and we'll let our doctors and our medical team take care of him.

"They do a really good job with that and we obviously know what he has to go through hopefully to be available for round one."

St Kilda assistant coach Corey Enright said Webster's bump was out of character.

"He's obviously shown some remorse there and I guess our thoughts are with the North Melbourne player in Simpkin," Enright said.

"Hopefully he's going to be OK and you never want to see anyone go down. We'll deal with whatever comes out of it from there.

"(Webster) is a great person and he's had a long time in the game.

"As we know with football, it's one step here or one step there.

"It's a really fast game, faster than ever. These things happen really quickly.

"We can only take Jimmy for the person that he is and he's been a great character and great servant for our club."

The incident came less than a week after Port Adelaide forward Sam Powell-Pepper was handed a four-match ban at the tribunal for a bump which concussed Adelaide's Mark Keane.

Collingwood great Nathan Buckley declared Webster's bump "at least twice as bad" as Powell-Pepper's and pondered whether it would result in a much larger suspension.

St Kilda draftees Darcy Wilson (24 disposals) and Arie Schoenmaker (16) impressed in their side's warm-up win, with former Port Adelaide defender Riley Bonner (30) and fellow playmaker Nasaiah Wanganeen-Milera (29) also busy.

Max King, Tim Membrey, Mitch Owens and Cooper Sharman kicked two goals each, and Liam Henry capped his performance with a brilliant final-quarter goal from the boundary line.

North Melbourne trailed by 33 points at halftime and would have been further behind if not for St Kilda's inaccuracy, but hit back in the third quarter.

They kicked the first six goals after the main break, including three to Nick Larkey, to hit the front before the Saints steadied.

North's No.4 draft pick Zane Duursma showcased his strong marking and kicked two goals, as did Cameron Zurhaar, while ex-Carlton playmaker Zac Fisher (36 disposals) and best-and-fairest winner Harry Sheezel (32) were busy.

Saints young gun Mattaes Phillipou sat out the second half as a precautionary measure with a sore hip.

Australian Associated Press