OVENS and Murray clubs have started to circle Dawson Simpson, who announced his retirement from the AFL on Friday.
The Greater Western Sydney ruckman officially ended a 47-match career to date at the highest level dating back to 2007 when he was drafted by Geelong from the Murray Bushrangers via Barnawartha.
Myrtleford, Albury and Wodonga Raiders would be considered the front-runners to land Simpson if he made a return to the region.
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All three clubs are keen to bolster their big man departments with 30-year-old Simpson understood to be open to the possibility of playing in the O and M in 2020.
In eight seasons at Geelong, Simpson played 28 senior matches and was part of the club's 2012 VFL premiership.
He joined the AFL expansion club as an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2015.
Simpson was an integral part of the Giants' NEAFL premiership team the following year.
He has been a regular member of the GWS senior line-up in recent weeks as the club pushes towards September.
Giants general manager of football Wayne Campbell said the popular big man, who is a qualified personal trainer, would be missed at the club.
"Dawson is one of those people who becomes the heart and soul of a football club and the impact he and his family have had in four years at the Giants is immense," he said.
"He will leave a hole on-field, off-field and in the gym where he has kept our staff in shape over the past few years."
His wife Allira has also had a role at the club.
"I probably haven't achieved what I wanted to when it comes to games played, but I think the resilience I've been taught has created a man that can make a difference outside of football," Simpson said.
"I think that had I had an armchair ride or a cruisey career, I wouldn't be the same person today.
"I look back on my career happy with what I've been able to achieve over the past 12 seasons and striving for those last couple of games and the ultimate success this year."
Simpson has been a regular senior player for the Giants in recent weeks, but lost his spot for the clash against Western Bulldogs on Sunday.
Among those coming into the GWS line-up is Albury premiership player and emerging key position player Zach Sproule, who will make his debut.