Carlton’s courageous midfielder Kade Simpson returns to action following a jaw injury on Sunday and is considering wearing a protective helmet for the round-19 clash with Sydney at Etihad Stadium.
Simpson has missed three AFL games after being concussed in a collision with Collingwood’s Sharrod Wellingham.
Amid pressure from his mum, the 28-year-old Simpson trained in the helmet at Visy Park on Saturday morning. Simpson is also wearing protective elastic braces to keep his jaw in position.
“It may just be a double mouthguard, but the doc was going to have a word to the surgeon and get her thoughts on a helmet… and if they say I need to wear one I’ll strap it straight on,” Simpson says.
The 182cm, 78kg Simpson says he also wore a helmet in under-10s.
“Mum and Dad wanted me to wear one then and Mum’s pretty keen for me to wear one now,” Simpson told carltonfc.com.au website.
“I’ve told her that they’ve done a study into helmets and they don’t actually do anything, but she’s pretty keen for me to put one on.”
The Blues (9-8) are battling to keep pace with the top eight. Carlton assistant coach Gavin Brown admits they face a mighty task to topple the ladder-leading Swans who are on an eight-game winning streak.
Brown says having key forward Jarrad Waite and the inspirational Simpson back in the side is fantastic news for the Blues.
“The confidence is there that we’re good enough (to play finals). It’s just a matter of getting in there,” Brown told reporters.
“He (Simpson) is an amazing one-on-one player with enormous courage.”
Waite will play his 150th game and first since round seven, having played at VFL level last weekend after overcoming a back injury. Simon White has also been recalled.
“He (Waite) is critical to us. We haven’t had him virtually all year so it’s really exciting,” Brown said.
“He’s a target to kick to. He’s a bit of x-factor.”
Sydney will also be celebrating a milestone as former club champion and 2006 All-Australian Ryan O’Keefe plays his 250th game.
Swans’ coach John Longmire said while the Blues were still a dangerous side, having won three of their past four matches.
“They get two absolute quality players back this week (Waite and Simpson), so they are as strong as they’ve been over the last month and I’m certain that they’ll be giving a really good account of themselves,” he said.
Since moving to Sydney in 1982, the Swans have recorded eight-game winning streaks in 1987, 1996 and 2012 as Longmire’s men shoot for a record ninth victory in a row on Sunday.
The Swans regain ruckman Shane Mumford, while forward Sam Reid has a knee injury.