Darcy Parish has capped a remarkable breakout year by polling 26 votes at the 2021 Brownlow Medal count, placing equal-fifth overall.

The 24-year-old had only registered two Brownlow votes in his career before the count, but absolutely blitzed that tally with six three-vote performances over the season.

After switching to a permanent midfield spot in round three, Parish excelled, with his best vote-getting streak coming between rounds 9-12 where he was named best afield four consecutive times.

Parish was closely followed by his midfield mate Zach Merrett, who produced another phenomenal season to finish with 20 votes - seven better than his tally last year. 

The Dons' vice-captain was consistently superb, polling in 12 games throughout the season.

Powerful midfielder-forward Jake Stringer was rewarded for late season form, polling eight votes in the final nine rounds, while recruit Peter Wright earned five votes in his first season with the red and black.

ESSENDON'S BROWNLOW LEADERBOARD

26 - Darcy Parish

20 - Zach Merrett

8 - Jake Stringer

5 - Peter Wright

4 - Sam Draper

3 - Devon Smith

3 - Jordan Ridley

2 - Andrew McGrath

2 - Cale Hooker

2 - Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

2 - Archie Perkins

1 - Mason Redman

1 - Alec Waterman

ROUND-BY-ROUND VOTES

Round 1 v Hawthorn

3 - Sam Draper

2 - Jaeger O'Meara

1 - Zach Merrett

Round 2 v Port Adelaide

3 - Ollie Wines

2 - Dan Houston

1 - Zak Butters

Round 3 v St Kilda

3 - Darcy Parish

2 - Cale Hooker

1 - Jordan Ridley

Round 4 v Sydney

3 - Luke Parker

2 - Zach Merrett

1 - Luke Parker

Round 5 v Brisbane

3 - Lachie Neale

2 - Jarryd Lyons

1 - Joe Daniher

Round 6 v Collingwood

3 - Darcy Parish

2 - Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

1 - Zach Merrett

Round 7 v Carlton

3 - Sam Walsh

2 - Ed Curnow

1 - Andrew McGrath

Round 8 v GWS

3 - Tim Taranto

2 - Darcy Parish

1 - Zach Merrett

Round 9 v Fremantle

3 - Darcy Parish

2 - David Mundy

1 - Matt Taberner 

Round 10 v North Melbourne

3 - Darcy Parish

2 - Zach Merrett

1 - Andrew McGrath

Round 11 v West Coast

3 - Darcy Parish

2 - Dom Sheed

1 - Zach Merrett

Round 12 v Richmond

3 - Darcy Parish

2 - Dustin Martin

1 - Shai Bolton

Round 13 bye

Round 14 v Hawthorn

3 - Jake Stringer

2 - Tom Mitchell

1 - Zach Merrett

Round 15 v Melbourne

3 - Clayton Oliver

2 - Zach Merrett

1 - Cristian Petracca

Round 16 v Geelong

3 - Darcy Parish

2 - Tom Hawkins

1 - Patrick Dangerfield

Round 17 v Adelaide

3 - Zach Merrett

2 - Archie Perkins

1 - Mason Redman

Round 18 v North Melbourne

3 - Zach Merrett

2 - Jake Stringer

1 - Darcy Parish

Round 19 v GWS

3 - Lachie Whitfield

2 - Tom Greene

1 - Jordan Ridley

Round 20 v Sydney

3 - Callum Mills

2 - Zach Merrett

1 - Tom Papley

Round 21 v Western Bulldogs

3 - Peter Wright

2 - Jack Macrae

1 - Zach Merrett

Round 22 v Gold Coast

3 - Jake Stringer

2 - Darcy Parish

1 - Sam Draper

Round 23 v Collingwood

3 - Devon Smith

2 - Peter Wright

1 - Alec Waterman