Parish seizes chance to shine
CASSIDY Parish has stamped himself a matchwinner after producing a stunning display in yesterday’s preliminary final win at Simonds Stadium.
Quality runs in the family, with his brother Darcy, firmly entrenched in Essendon’s best 22.
But as far as the Falcons midfielder is concerned, genetics only take you so far.
Cassidy has made sure hard work allows him and his side to live out its potential, and that was evident yesterday.
Backs against the wall and 12 points down at halftime, Parish lifted his side off the canvas.
He amassed 14 disposals in the third term, finishing with 32 touches, four clearances and four tackles.
Champion Data statistics rank him in the elite few in the TAC Cup.
Until Round 15, Parish ranked second in total disposals, first in contested possessions, first in loose ball gets, third in hard ball gets and No.1 in clearances.
Since then, he has been in his side’s best four of five matches.
“If you play well in finals it’s obviously big,” Parish said.
“But I’m not really thinking about how it’s perceived outside the club; I’m just wanting to win the premiership and that’s all.
“Obviously it’s a dream come true (to make it). We’ve all been working towards it and I was in the team last year that lost in the prelim to Sandringham, so it’s just an awesome feeling around the club.
“I’ve really got the belief we can win it.”
Belief was a key word among the Falcons after the realisation they’d earnt a spot in Sunday’s decider.
They might have been in trouble at halftime, but the way they turned the tables has them confident they can face any challenge.
“Throughout the season we’ve had really good second halves,” Parish said.
“At halftime, ‘DOK’ (coach Daniel O’Keefe) just said keep believing in ourselves and our running ability will get us over the top in the end.
“There’s still one more game to go and I want to win really bad.”
O’Keefe heaped plaudits on the 18-year-old Winchelsea product, who was sure to have attracted the attention of AFL scouts.
“In the third quarter, he was nearly single-handedly helping to push us across the line,” he said.
“I’m super proud of Cassidy because I feel he’s had a lot of critics. He’s proved some wrong in the back half of the season. He’s an essential part of our group.”
Falcon Cassidy Parish