Darcy Parish admits he was somewhat frustrated by limited midfield opportunities in previous seasons but now looks back on that stage as crucial to his development into an elite on-baller.
"Maybe a little bit of frustration, but for my development and growth into the player I am now, all them weeks and them months playing in the forward line and different areas of the ground has helped me become the player I am today," Parish said.
"Looking back on it, I'm very grateful to have played them roles and learn them positions and it's all coming into my games now."
Darcy Parish will be out for up to two months after breaking his thumb in the VFL on the weekend.
"We'll be checking with the surgeon after he's had that procedure and getting a better feel for how long it's going to take to get Darcy back on the park," Bombers high performance manager Justin Crow said.
"The silver lining there [is] that we can really work hard on Darcy's running ability through that period."
Darcy Parish details a unique way of measuring his training intensity during his first few months at the Bombers.
In his first few days at the club, at the end of 2015 after being that year's No.5 draft pick, Parish clashed heads at training and wore the brunt of the collision. But it didn't dent his attack on the ball, as the midfielder set himself to prove he was worth the early selection Essendon used on him.
"There probably wasn't a week where I didn't have a blood nose in that first bit. I'd be coming off every time putting the cotton buds up my nose to stop the bleeding," Parish said.
"It became a bit of a habit and if I didn't get one then training probably hadn't gone too well. I wanted to get the respect off the boys and one way was to come out and compete and show a lot of effort at training. They definitely notice it."
Darcy Parish is keen to stay at Essendon, but won't be worried if his contract talks continue to drag out as he remains unsigned beyond this season.
"Obviously there's a bit of contract talk going around, but it's not something I'm really focused on. I'm just focused on playing good footy and enjoying my time here at Essendon," Parish said.
"My managers are going through that with the club at the moment, so hopefully we get it done pretty soon because I obviously have no intentions of leaving the club, because it's been great so far and I'm loving every minute of it. Hopefully we get it done soon."
Darcy Parish makes his AFL debut for Essendon with 25 disposals (8 kicks and 17 handballs), 5 marks and 6 tackles in a 61-point loss to Gold Coast.
Thursday, 7 January 2016
Bomber veteran Adam Cooney tips Essendon's top draft pick Darcy Parish to break through at AFL level early in 2016.
"You can usually tell with one or two first-year players when they come in that they're going to make an impact straight away," Cooney said.
"I remember Marcus Bontempelli was one at the Western Bulldogs a few years ago. As soon as he walked in the door, you knew that he was just going to make an impact straight away and it was a bit like that with Darcy Parish.
"He's a little bit skinnier and a little bit smaller but when he has the footy in his hands he really uses it well and I think we'll see him pretty early on in the season."
Essendon draftee Darcy Parish will wear the No.3 jumper, made famous in the red and black by the greatest Bomber in history, three-time Brownlow medallist and four-time premiership player Dick Reynolds.
Essendon select Darcy Parish with pick No.5 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft.
"He's an incredible talent. He wins the footy and spreads really hard outside. He plays defence as well, which I really like. He's smart around the goals, courageous and tough," AFL Academy coach Brenton Sanderson said.