A 100-game AFL milestone for club champion Luke Parker will ensure the much anticipated return of Adam Goodes won’t be the only thing Sydney celebrates this weekend.
A big possession getter, tough nut and strong overhead mark, Parker influences games in both midfield and forward roles.
The 22-year-old is averaging 26 disposals a game this year, and in 2015 has also notched personal best individual game stats in kicks, disposals, marks and goals.
He won a premiership medallion in 2012 and has become a key figure in the side at a relatively tender age.
“He’s already won a best and fairest and he’s also the youngest player to be elected to our leadership group,” Swans’ coach John Longmire said of Parker.
“It’s a pretty significant impact he’s had on our club.”
Longmire said Parker had wanted to play senior football from the moment he walked in the door.
“He was built strongly as though he was ready to play senior football and had the same attitude.
“I can’t forget a moment when he sat opposite my desk in his first year and we dropped him to the reserves at the back end of the year and he just pleaded to get back into the senior team.
“He’s been a fantastic contributor to our footy club for his 100 games for such a young player and hopefully there’s plenty more to go.
“We’re really confident that when you’ve got a bloke like Luke Parker helping drive the club, that we’re in good hands.”
Parker’s increasing influence on games and older teammates suggests he would be ideally suited for a more senior role as a captain or co-captain down the track.
“I don’t know, it’s not a bad start he’s had. He’s been super, so those things will work their way through in coming years,” Longmire said.
“His influence on games right now and his impact in the centre of the ground or up forward, but also off the field, which is growing all the time, is of a really high standard.
“He can be a difficult matchup because he’s so good at ground level as a midfielder, but he’s so good above his head.
“He’s able to go forward and take a mark and be a genuine marking option in our front half.”