Bomber Parish taking the 30 per cent jump

·2-min read

Essendon coach Ben Rutten always knew Darcy Parish had the potential to get "30 per cent" better, and the speedster's pay packet could rocket even more than that following his stunning form this year.

Parish has been a revelation since his full-time move into the midfield in the wake of long-term injuries suffered by Jye Caldwell and Dylan Shiel in round two.

The out-of-contract midfielder has averaged 34.3 possessions and 8.9 clearances per game from round three onwards to rocket into Brownlow medal contention.

Parish set a new record in Saturday night's 39-point Dreamtime loss to Richmond when he tallied 44 disposals and 11 clearances.

It was the most possessions by a player in Essendon's AFL/VFL history, bettering the 43 tallied by Barry Davis against the Western Bulldogs in 1969.

Parish's value continues to rise by the week, and Essendon will have to put a hefty contract offer on the table in a bid to fend off rivals.

The Bombers are also looking to re-sign free agent Zach Merrett.

Rutten lavished praise on the way Parish has been able to transform himself into an elite midfielder this year.

"A conversation we had during the pre-season - I felt he had 30 per cent growth in him in his game and we're starting to see that," Rutten said.

"He has got a lot of confidence at the moment and he's built some belief into his body, which he worked on over the off-season. Now he is transferring that onto game day.

"He's just matured. He's a year older. He has certainly made a big jump in conditioning and physical preparation. He has taken his running ability to the left level.

"It's been how he transfers that into games and getting more possessions and getting more value for those possessions.

"He's had a chance to spend more midfield time and he's taken more of a leadership role for our club this year as well."

Essendon shot out to a three-point lead against Richmond at the 11-minute mark of the final term, but the Tigers booted the final seven goals of the match to run away with the win.

The Bombers are sweating on injuries to midfielder Andrew McGrath (knee) and veteran David Zaharakis (hamstring).

McGrath injured his left knee in the opening minutes and was later seen on the sidelines wearing a big brace.

The Bombers (5-7) have a bye next round, and are scheduled to take on Hawthorn at the MCG on June 20.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting