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Simpkin says Roos "sick of losing", gives indication on Tarry Thomas' year to come

Jarred Cross -

North Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin says his club is "sick of losing week-in, week out".

The club's AFLW team fell one short of a premiership in December, with the men's side getting nowhere near a September berth in recent times.

The Roos have notched just 10 wins since the start of their 2020 season with a ninth place finish in 2018 the club's most successful since Simpkin's debut the previous year.

With the young Yorta Yorta star taking on captain's duties last year, North began their campaign with back-to-back wins under new coach Alastair Clarkson before a wake up call of 20 consecutive losses.

A round 24 win over Gold Coast ended their year on a rare high.

Simpkin conceded years of losing can create an environment of "hope we're going to win, instead of believing".

The 25-year-old said the playing group are set on changing things in 2024.

"Everyone on the list now is sick of being where we are. We've been down in the bottom few for three, four, five years. Everyone's sick of it," he said.

"Everyone's working a lot harder. Everyone knocked off seconds, 10 to 15 seconds of their PBs and the tests that we do.

"I think that just shows you know where the group's at. They're starting to mature a little bit more which is good to see.

"I can't really put a number on where we'll get to but we're going to improve."

Simpkin is setting examples during his seventh preseason. The midfielder finished first in the club's 2km time trial on Monday.

He signed a five-year extension to remain at the club until 2029 in May.

Simpkin averaged 20 touches and four clearances after consecutive Syd Barker medals in 2021 and '22. (Image: Facebook)

A look around the developing playing group has boosted his confidence on a climb up the ladder starting in March.

Swans recruit Dylan Stephens, draftees Zane Duursma and Colby McKercher - who Simpkin said is "dominating" preseason, star debutants from last year George Wardlaw and Harry Sheezle, and older heads like Liam Shiels are all contributing towards building something.

"Athletic beast" Griffin Logue is also expected to return from an ACL injury.

Simpkin said there's been a change in mindset amongst the squad backed by the coaching staff with Clarkson at the helm after an interrupted 2023.

2023 was a tumultuous year for North on-and-off the field.

Clarkson stepped back from his role amidst the Hawthorn racism saga.

Fellow Indigenous player Tarryn Thomas was embroiled in personal matters putting his footy future in limbo.

Thomas spent patches of 2023 away from the club as he dealt with personal matters. (Image: Facebook)

Simpkin has put his faith in the 23-year-old turning things around this year.

"He's going alright," Simpkin said.

"He had a bit of a groin problem. So he was a bit off legs there for a bit but he's started to join back in.

"One of Tarryn's greatest strengths is he's so resilient and when he's out there, he lets his footy do the talking...when he gets out there every time he touches the ball, something special happens."

Simpkin said Thomas has "knuckled down" and the best of him is yet to come.

"He's working hard. He's in a great mindset at the moment."

North kick of 2024 with a preseason game against premiers Collingwood at Arden St on February 21.

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