By Luke Voogt
Lachie Henderson, Sam Simpson and Brad Close have signed contract extensions with Geelong Cats, the club announced on Monday evening.
The Cats delisted Henderson last year, after he came over from Carlton in 2016, but picked him up again as the final selection of last year’s rookie draft.
The 30-year-old returned to the side this year in round eight, shutting down several key forwards while playing in the Cats’ remaining 14 matches, including all four finals.
“Lachie filled a key role in our defence for most of the season and had an impact in quelling key opposition forwards,” Geelong’s football general manager Simon Lloyd said.
“He is a team-first player who has always placed the needs of the group ahead of his own.”
Henderson has played 185 games with Brisbane, Carlton and Geelong.
With champion defender Harry Taylor now retired, Henderson will likely take on even greater responsibility in the Cats’ backline.
Silky-smooth midfielder Simpson impressed this year, establishing himself in the Cats’ line-up before suffering a hamstring injury.
The 22-year-old returned during the finals and played nine games during 2020.
“Sam did very well when he earned his opportunity with his strong work ethic and impact around the ball being a highlight,” Lloyd said.
“He was also very diligent in his rehab and that allowed him to come back into the team during the finals and have a significant influence.”
The former Geelong Falcon and son of former Cat Sean Simpson has now played 15 games since his debut in 2017.
Close exploded onto the AFL scene by booting a goal with his first kick in his round eight debut against Fremantle.
The 22-year-old forward-midfielder went on to play eight games and was an emergency throughout the finals campaign.
“Brad played well as a forward and we see him having a good future at AFL level,” Lloyd said.
“He will continue to develop his game through his strong drive and professionalism and we look forward to seeing Brad further enhance his game in 2021.”