The Power, facing the Tigers at the MCG on Sunday, are on a seven-game winning streak, with Hinkley saying his future will not be a distraction.
“Our position as a football club has been really strong and nothing has changed,” Hinkley said.
“Our team is focused on [playing to win] and will stay focused on that; we are not being distracted.
“I have a sole focus on the performance of this team. We have said from the start of the year that we need to have a successful season. There are dangers in being distracted … and we are not going to entertain [those distracting questions]. That distraction is not going to happen.”
Simpkin snubs free agency, signs long-term deal
North Melbourne co-captain and dual Syd Barker medallist Jy Simpkin says he is “super excited” to have signed a five-year contract extension, despite a season of woe for the struggling club.
Simpkin, with a year still to run on his current contract, has ignored the opportunity to test free agency next year when he was to have been one of the prized assets, and will now remain at the club until at least the end of 2029.
The deal highlights the growing importance clubs have on signing key “pre-agents”.
“I’ve been here for six or seven years now, and I love this place. I love the club, my teammates and the coaching staff,” Simpkin said.
“I have a lot of respect for everyone at the club, so when my management and the club came together to talk about a long-term deal, it was a no-brainer.”
Simpkin’s extension means only Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver and Carlton forward Harry McKay – signed to 2030 – have longer contracts.
Simpkin, 25, has played in 124 out of a possible 138 games through his career, highlighting his durability. He was made co-captain this season alongside Luke McDonald, in what has been a tough initiation, with the Kangaroos winning only two games, and coach Alastair Clarkson taking indefinite leave. The Roos, having had eight-straight defeats, face the top-of-the-table Magpies on Sunday.
The former No.12 draft pick has become of the league’s premier midfielders, averaging a team-high 26 disposals and an equal team-high five clearances per game last year to claim his second best and fairest.
Simpkin is a proud Yorta Yorta man, and he is the first Indigenous captain in the club’s history.
North Melbourne head of football talent Brady Rawlings said the club was delighted Simpkin and his manager Dave Trotter had snubbed free agency.
“We are absolutely rapt to have Jy commit his future to North Melbourne,” Rawlings said.
“Jy is highly regarded both on and off the field by the whole club, and his decision to sign on for a further five years despite the lure of free agency is a great show of confidence in where we are headed. We look forward to watching him continue to be a fantastic player and leader for our club in the years to come.”
Simpkin’s signing follows young gun George Wardlaw penning a two-year contract this week.
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