Junior Parish eyes a brotherly Bomber reunion
Dinny Navaratnam October 28, 2017 12:00 PM
AFL 2017 U18 Championships - Vic C v SA
Cassidy Parish has come to prominence as an inside midfielder at TAC Cup level
ESSENDON has enjoyed the benefits of having one Parish, so the prospect of drafting another must be tantalising.
Darcy Parish has done everything right since he was picked up with the fifth selection in 2015 and his brother Cassidy looms as an enticing option after a couple of excellent finals for the Geelong Falcons.
His standout 32-disposal display in the TAC Cup preliminary final against Dandenong, with highly touted prospects Luke Davies-Uniacke and Hunter Clark on the opposition, helped Parish stamp his credentials as a big-game player.
Then the following week at Etihad Stadium, he was among the best as Geelong won a nail-biting Grand Final against a Sandringham side with a “stackful of talent”.
An in-and-under player who thrives in contested situations, Parish’s 190cm frame is suited to burrowing into packs and feeding the football to outside runners.
The younger Parish was honest when speaking to AFL.com.au, admitting he was not the quickest footballer going around, but having supported Hawthorn in his youth, pointed to one of its retired Brownlow medallists as an idol he tried to emulate.
“I used to watch Sam Mitchell a lot, and how his handballs allow people to get into space,” Parish said.
“He wasn’t the quickest bloke either but he was just seemed to find the footy a lot and made his teammates better.”
The chance to play with his brother has not come around too often. However, they did combine to help win an under-14s premiership with father Glen at the helm as coach.
Having a sibling at the elite level has proven valuable.
“He taught me a lot as well, with this year especially, he’d text me and talk to me about what I could do to improve game by game. I value those comments that he gives me,” Parish said of Darcy.
Seeing his brother in the red and black, running around in front of thousands of passionate fans as one of the brightest young players in the competition, has only intensified Parish’s desire to be drafted.
“I want to be where he is at the moment. He’s obviously very educated about the game now, being in the system for two years, so it’s always good to get feedback off him, because he knows what he’s talking about and he can read the game pretty well,” Parish said.
Up to six clubs have shown interest in Parish, with Essendon and Fremantle the most ardent suitors so far. Going interstate does not worry the boy from Winchelsea, a town located about 90 minutes south-west of Melbourne.
“I’m happy to go wherever I need to go to make it into the AFL. Whether that be in Perth or Adelaide or up in Queensland or something, I’m happy to go wherever. I just want to be wanted at a club,” Parish said.
Having said that, reuniting with his brother would be enjoyable.
“It’d be fun to be playing with Darcy again. We used to play together in juniors and stuff, so I wouldn’t mind that at all,” Parish said.
The tough nut’s flaws are his disposal by foot and his endurance, although those have improved.
“My kicking’s been looked at as sort of a weakness but I think it’s just getting better as the weeks go on,” Parish said.
“Also, I think my running was also a weakness but now I feel like throughout the season I’ve progressed that and nearly made it a strength. I’m still trying to improve my kicking but it’s getting there I think.”
Having finished year 12 at Grovedale College with his exams starting next Wednesday, Parish knows he is no certainty to be drafted. If footy does not work out, he sees himself helping his dad on the farm.
Either way, he will not be lost to the sport.
“I won’t just quit if I don’t get drafted. I’d like to see my VFL options and maybe even GFL (Geelong Football League). I wouldn’t give it away because it’s the sport I love,” Parish said.