Darcy Parish (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Draft range: Top five
Strengths: Kicking, never slows down, decision making, hurt factor
Weaknesses: Lack of size, defensive efforts, scoreboard impact
Player comparison: Lachie Whitfield
First year impact: Rising Star nominee
Speed: Above average
Darcy Parish is a classy outside midfielder, who despite his flaws, should be a top five pick.
Parish is a very slight framed player who has a different type of speed. He runs hard to receive a handball or take an uncontested mark and then he’ll keep zipping past others to break lines.
He’s probably not the quickest player in the draft pool, but should still test around 2.95 seconds for the 20 metre sprint at the combine. The thing with Parish is that he is always running and no one can match the combination of his speed and work rate.
Parish loves to kick, and he can often have 20 or more kicks in a game. Most will hit the targets, as he prefers to do short sharp chips.He’s a good decision maker and with that comes a high disposal efficiency. At AFL level that efficiency may drop a little as he will be encouraged to be more bold.
With his kicking talents, speed and vision, he really should start as a half forward/midfielder at AFL level and work on his defensive pressure, whilst playing in a Zach Merrett-like role.
He’s got room to improve his defensive efforts, as his strong tank and speed should really see him taking down few more players. I see him growing into that Lachie Whitfield mould, but perhaps with a little more pace.
He’s still not quite at that one goal a game you’d like from such an elite player, but to be fair, he’s played 90% as a midfielder this year and hasn’t really had the chance to show his talents up forward.
Parish needs to work on his hurt factor a little bit. He’s obviously got the skills to hurt a team, but if he could eliminate a few of those sideways kicks and get them at 45 degree angles, I think he’d be perhaps the most damaging outside midfielder to come through in four or five years.
At this stage, he looks well ahead in his development compared to Josh Kelly in his draft year. Parish has become so much better on the inside this year, whereas Kelly didn’t really show that side to his game at all in his draft year.
Parish is an excellent stoppage player. His core strength is good enough for him to win a bit of his own ball on the inside. What’s really damaging though is his ability to read the tap then get away from the centre clearance in four or five really explosive steps like Luke Shuey often does.
A lack of size isn’t really an issue for Parish. He’s above 180 centimetres and his core strength is pretty good, so those ‘too small’ stereotypes don’t really apply.
Parish isn’t a great overhead mark, but we saw Jack Lonie really improve in that area last year, so there’s no real question mark over whether shorter players need that asset.
Parish looks on par with Jacob Weitering in terms of how certain you are that he’ll turn out to be an excellent player. There’s no doubt over whether Parish will perform at the next level, which should see him taken by at the very latest, pick seven.