Simpson's blood is worth bottling
SOUTH Sydney Rabbitohs' Jamie Simpson knows what they're going through.
“Some of the other boys from the Rabbitohs, when they go to hospitals for visits, they don't know what to do or say,” he said.
“Because I've been there, in their place, I can relate to what the kids are going through.”
Since overcoming life-threatening Hodgkin's Lymphoma, not once but twice during 2002 and 2003, Simpson has pledged his support to the Australian Red Cross and most recently Lymphoma Australia.
Along with Cronulla Sharks forward Johnny Mannah, Simpson became a global ambassador for Lymphoma Australia and is doing his best to raise awareness for the organisation.
“We're trying to raise awareness, I'm going out and I'm talking with a lot of children in hospitals,” he said.
“It's the most common blood disease around, but one in five people don't know about it.”
Back in Rockhampton on his annual off-season break, the Rabbitohs utility is enjoying his time away, while awaiting his return to the training paddock.
Pre-season training begins on November 2 and, while he has done a bit of work during the off-season, Simpson believes he's a little underdone.
“I need to get back into (training), I'm getting fat,” he joked.
Simpson played this season at 92 kilograms but plans to beef up his 176cm frame.
“I always want to be heavier,” he said.
“I played at 92 kilos this year, but I'd like to put on a bit of weight this preseason.”
Simpson will be playing for a contract during the 2011 season as it marks the final year of the former St Brendan's College star's contract with the Rabbitohs.
“I'd definitely like to stay. It's just a great club,” he said.
“Obviously with Russell (Crowe) there you know it's going to be a good place – he's a great bloke and so is John (Lang).”
He has the best opportunity of his young career with the 24-year-old about to enter his seventh NRL pre-season and his first without off-season surgery.
Used in a range of positions this season from wing to dummy half, Simpson has spoken with coach John Lang about finding his place in the side.
“I was run-on winger at the start of last year, then I got moved around a bit, and John said that I've got to find that one position that I want to play in,” he said.
While versatility in the modern game can help young players, there are times when it would be more beneficial to settle into one position. “It's a blessing and a curse,” he said. “Hopefully I can cement a spot in the side for next season. But, as long as I'm getting a run I don't mind.”