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AFL greats have their say amid outrage over Jimmy Webster and Jy Simpkin incident

Saints defender Jimmy Webster wiped out North Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin in yet another sickening AFL high shot.

The nasty high bump that concussed North Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin on Sunday has resulted in AFL greats calling for him to receive a massive ban. After disposing of the football St Kilda's Jimmy Webster lined up the Roos midfielder as he tip-toed the boundary line.

Webster left the ground and hit Simpkin with the full force of his body and a tucked elbow in the first quarter of the clubs' pre-season clash in Moorabbin. Simpkin, who has a history of concussion issues, took no further part in the match and is expected to miss round one, with Webster likely to have an extended stint on the sideline himself.

Jy Simpkin pictured left and right a high bump on Simpkin by Jimmy Webster
AFL greats are calling for St Kilda defender Jimmy Webster to receive a massive ban after wiping out North's Jy Simpkin in a pre-season hit out. Image: Getty/ AFL Twitter

The incident comes a week after Port Adelaide's Sam Powell-Pepper was handed a four-week ban for his 'reckless' high shot on Crow Mark Keane. Ahead of the 2024 season, the AFL has warned players that they have a duty of care when tackling after a surge in concussions and concussion-related issues for current and past players.

Following the high bump on Simpkin, former AFL players and pundits called for an example to be made of the 30-year-old. Webster, who has played 133 games for the Saints since making his debut in 2012, has little defence for the shot, with the question not if he will be suspended but for just how long he will be forced to sit out.

Collingwood legend and Fox Footy commentator Nathan Buckley was one of the first to take to social media to condemn the bump and pointed out a potential issue with the AFL's crackdown on high contact in the year ahead. "For mine, this is one of the issues of hedging SPP's (Sam Powell-Pepper) action at 4 weeks," wrote Buckley on X. "(The) Webster action was at least twice as bad in my view. Does that mean it’s an 8-week penalty?"

Jy Simpkin.
Jy Simpkin looks worse for wear after the ugly incident. (Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Fellow AFL analyst David King labelled the contact "unnecessary" and said he hoped this would be the last of the horror high bumps this season "Ten weeks. Simple as that," King wrote on X. "I just hope Jy Simpkin is ok. Just so unnecessary. I hope we aren’t still having this conversation anymore in 24."

During the broadcast Fox Footy commentator Jordan Lewis was furious with what he had just witnessed. "I think, as commentators, former players (and) fans of the game, we don’t want to see that," he said as Simpkin was helped from the ground.

"So, (Webster) will be dealt with quite harshly, you’d think … All the education that we receive in the media and (with) what the former players are going through, you would’ve hoped that we wouldn’t have seen that ever again. But, there are some players out there who do some stupid things."

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23:  Mark Keane of the Crows  tackled by Willie Rioli of the Power and  Sam Powell-Pepper of the Power causing a concussion during an AFL practice match between Port Adelaide Power and Adelaide Crows at Alberton Oval on February 23, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
Port Adelaide's Sam Powell-Pepper was given a four-week ban for his 'reckless' high shot on Crow Mark Keane. Image: Getty (Mark Brake via Getty Images)

AFL crackdown on dangerous contact after Angus Brayshaw's retirement

The incident comes a week after Angus Brayshaw revealed he was retiring from the sport after medical advice deemed it was unsafe for him to continue playing. Brayshaw was knocked unconscious by Brayden Maynard in Melbourne's clash with Collingwood in the first week of the finals last year, after Maynard jumped to smother the ball, with his shoulder smacking into Brayshaw's head. Maynard escaped a ban, despite huge criticism levelled at the Collingwood star.

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Following the announcement, Brayshaw called on the AFL to do more to help prevent players from suffering the same fate as him. "We have made great strides in this space, but there is more that needs to be done to safeguard the brains of players not only in the AFL ranks but from grassroots all the way up," he wrote in an open letter published on Melbourne's website last week.

"I believe the future of our game will be strongly impacted by how we deal with this element of player safety as more information comes to light. I hope the AFL will be proactive in the future when it comes to the safety of its players as opposed to reactive, so we can continue to enjoy this amazing game and protect the brains of the players. They must be sacrosanct."

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