Kade Simpson announces retirement

Carlton veteran Kade Simpson, who played for longer than all but two Blues, will play the final game of his AFL career on Saturday night at the Gabba.

Simpson, 36, informed his teammates of his retirement on Tuesday and will play his 342nd and final game against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.

Carlton’s Kade Simpson is hanging up the boots.Credit:Darrian Traynor

Simpson's retirement leaves the question open of whether fellow Carlton favourite and veteran Eddie Betts will play on in 2021, with confirmation of his future imminent.

Betts is assured of being at Carlton next year, in either an off-field role or on the playing list, with the decision by Tom Papley to stick with Sydney arguably improving Betts' prospects of getting another season.

Carlton are mindful of the need to continue a transition of the playing list, and are also hoping to land Greater Western Sydney's running defender Zac Williams, who shapes as an ideal replacement for Simpson if he chooses the Blues.

Simpson, who spent most of his career as a rebounding half-back, has played for Carlton since 2003, having arrived at the club in the wake of the 2002 draft penalties for salary cap rorts that saw the Blues taken removed from the draft and deprived of picks one and two – plunging the Blues into a fiscal and football nadir. Simpson, taken at pick 45 that eventful November, is the only player remaining from the 2002 draft.

Simpson, who did not get a touch in his first three games, was remarkably resilient, playing 158 consecutive games in a stretch from 2005 until 2012 and ranks third behind Craig Bradley and Bruce Doull as the list of games played at Carlton.

But while the other four members of Carlton's 300-game club – Bradley, Doull, John Nicholls and Stephen Silvagni – all played in at least two premierships (Doull played in four), Simpson had the misfortune to have his 18-year career coincide with the leanest period in club history and did not play in a preliminary or grand final.

He did manage to play in six finals, five under Brett Ratten, winning elminination finals against Essendon in 2011 and Richmond in 2013, when he also won the club's best and fairest in that season; he finished top three in that award a further three times.

Simpson and teammate Marc Murphy have played an astonishing 275 games together, a number that will increase by one this weekend.

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