Midfielder, Forward


Cooper Simpson

height: 181cm

weight: 79kg

D.O.B: 13-02-2005

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “Cooper Simpson is a clean and quick midfielder who hits the scoreboard and has noted leadership qualities.”

There was plenty of promise surrounding Cooper Simpson coming into his draft year, having produced a sparkling bottom-aged campaign. The Dandenong Stingrays star was part of the region’s side which made the 2022 Coates Talent League Grand Final, playing 14 games and quickly graduating from forward to midfielder.

He duly earned a spot in the 2023 AFL Academy and was named co-captain of the Stingrays alongside Harry DeMattia. Representative honours followed, though Simpson’s National Championship campaign was cut short after sustaining a nasty corked thigh in Vic Country’s opening game.

That wasn’t before an opportunity with Casey Demons in the VFL though, where Simpson debuted in Round 5. He returned from injury late in the year for Dandenong, recapturing some of his best form and earning a National Draft Combine invite.



+ Agility
+ Character
+ Clean hands
+ Kick penetration
+ Scoreboard impact
+ Speed


- Composure
- Versatility

Playing most of his best junior football in midfield, Simpson is an on-baller with points of difference. His turn of speed gets him out of tight spots and is a weapon through the centre corridor, or even when stepping clear for shots on goal. Scoreboard impact is another string to Simpson's bow, as he averaged nearly one goal per game across two Coates Talent League seasons.

While he started his Stingrays career as a forward and spent plenty of time on a wing late this year, Simpson's best work is arguably done at stoppage. He boasts clean and quick hands on the inside, often collecting with one touch and dishing the ball off in a flash. He works hard on his skills and prides himself on such traits.

Away from the contest, Simpson also uses his speed to break the lines and has a keen eye for goal. His finishing ability is quite good for a primary midfielder, often doing so on the run, and adds value to his game outside of the obvious stoppage craft. Simpson has a decently long kick on him too, but can certainly use it more to hurt the opposition.

Part of that comes with enhanced composure and decision making. Simpson tends to play to his strengths and flick the ball off rather quickly, so could benefit from backing his pace to break from the coalface with first possession, rather than purely doing so via handball receives on the outside.

Simpson is also looking to expand on his versatility in the sense of nailing down a definite second position. He got to explore a couple of different roles this year, albeit thriving most when playing on-ball, and senses that he'll either have to spend more time forward or on the outside at senior level.



While Simpson had to battle to find his best form as a top-ager, not helped by a nasty injury at the start of the National Championships, his bottom-age promise will remain in recruiters’ minds. He has a range of desirable traits; from class and clean skills, to speed and a hard-working nature – all of which should be enough to see him earn a chance at the top level. Having once been touted as a top 20 chance, the second or third rounds seem like a suitable range for the Dandenong product, who supports Geelong.

Clean hands
Kicking penetration
Scoreboard impact

AFL U18 Championships

2023Vic Country44822600120014.

Coates Talent League Boys

2022Dandenong Stingrays11714826546003900521910148.410.618.
2023Dandenong Stingrays93791723100270023117811.69.921.
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