Receiving the Round 2 Rising Star nomination for season 2016, midfielder Darcy Parish has moved the Bombers back into first place on the all-time nomination list since the award’s inception in 1993.
Parish became the 37th Bomber to receive the gong after collecting 21 disposals, eight tackles, five inside 50s and kicking the sealing goal as Essendon chalked up its first win of the season against Melbourne.
At the start of the season, the Bombers were equal-first with the Demons for total Rising Star nominations before Melbourne youngster Clayton Oliver was handed the Round 1 honour for a stellar debut performance.
With just two AFL matches under his belt, Parish also becomes one of the least experienced Essendon players to receive a Rising Star nomination after Che Cockatoo-Collins (1993), David Zaharakis (2009) and Dyson Heppell (2011) received nominations in their debut match.
Speaking to the media, 18-year-old Parish said he tried to base his game on the club’s only winner of the prestigious award.
“Dyson [Heppell] was someone I really looked up to before I came into Essendon and to learn off him in the first couple of months here at the club was super, so he was someone I definitely looked up to.”
There are some similarities between Parish and Heppell – including the blonde locks. Both excelled in the junior ranks and were picked inside the first eight players in their respective drafts before making an immediate impact at the Bombers.
Essendon teammate and former Cat James Kelly told Triple M radio on Sunday that Parish also shared similar traits with his former captain at Geelong.
“He reminds me a little bit of Joel Selwood when he first started,” Kelly said.
“He is not a project player or anything, he is able to have an impact straight away and he will just keep rolling on.
“He has a long way to go to be Joel Selwood, but he has that sort of demeanour around the place.”
Parish made his AFL debut in Round 1, collecting 25 touches, six tackles and six clearances as Essendon went down to the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium. He is also the club’s leading tackler in the first two weeks of the season.
He becomes the club’s fourth nominee since the start of 2014, following teammates Zach Merrett and Joe Daniher in 2014 and Orazio Fantasia in 2015.
Well done to Darcy Parish on the rd2 rising star! Quality player and an even better person! Great win boys and thanks to all supporters!
— Ben Howlett (@BenHowlett40) April 4, 2016
Total club Rising Star nominations:
Essendon – 37
Melbourne – 37
West Coast – 35
Collingwood – 34
Brisbane Lions – 34
Hawthorn – 33
Western Bulldogs – 33
Richmond – 32
Geelong – 29
Fremantle – 28
Carlton – 27
Port Adelaide – 27
Adelaide – 26
North Melbourne – 23
St Kilda – 23
Sydney – 23
GWS Giants – 14
Gold Coast – 11
Fitzroy – 6
Brisbane Bears – 5