Much-loved Cat Sam Simpson has received the news he’s been waiting for, with the skilful forward cleared to return to play after an extended concussion layoff.

Simpson hasn’t featured for Geelong at all this season after a pre-season incident left him with ongoing concussion symptoms.

The son of former Cat Sean Simpson was also concussed in a heavy collision in the 2020 AFL Grand Final.

“After enduring a long recovery period Sam will be available to play his first game in the VFL this weekend,” head of medical and conditioning services Harry Taylor says.

“Sam has shown great resilience and commitment through his reconditioning program and his teammates are rapt to see Sam back playing footy.”

Teammate Brandan Parfitt will also be back in action after missing the past five games with a broken hand.

 “Brandan will be available for selection this weekend, after being very close for last week’s game,” Taylor says.

Brandan Parfitt has recovered from his broken hand.

The good news keeps coming for the Cats, with draftee James Willis finally overcoming the knee issues that have kept him sidelined since he was taken with selection 32 in last year’s AFL National Draft.

Willis is a contested ball specialist with an AFL-ready body.

“Excitingly James will play his first game for the Geelong Football Club in the VFL this weekend,” Taylor says.

“James has been diligently working through his reconditioning program and it will be great to see James in the blue and white hoops.”

James Willis will make his Cats debut.

Defender Jake Kolodjashnij will aim to prove his fitness to take on the Blues, after he was concussed against North Melbourne.

“Jake will be a test later this week to determine his availability, as he continues to progress through the AFL Concussion protocol,” Taylor says.

Developing ruck Toby Conway suffered a heavy hit of his own as the Bendigo Bank VFL Cats side took on the Casey Demons in wet conditions on Friday night.

“Toby will enter the AFL Concussion protocol after receiving a head knock in the VFL game against the Casey Demons,” Taylor says.

Veteran Cat Shaun Higgins will be sidelined after going under the knife last week.

“Shaun had a minor surgical procedure last week to clean up his knee,” Taylor says.

“Shaun will now progress through a reconditioning program with availability set for the medium term.”

First-year draftee Flynn Kroeger has had some more bad luck after breaking his hand back in May.

“Flynn has glandular fever and will be monitored closely over the coming weeks to balance his training and recovery,” Taylor says.

Fellow draftee Cooper Whyte remains sidelined with a groin issue.