Essendon midfielder Darcy Parish couldn’t be more excited to get amongst his teammates for another pre-season.

Fresh from the off-season break, the 26-year-old is ready to attack his ninth pre-season with the club, with his first-to-fourth year teammates integrating back into the training schedule this week.

Speaking at the club’s announcement of its new co-major partner Dutton Automotive on Monday morning, Parish said the messaging from coaches had been heard loud and clear ahead of an important off-season for the side’s development.


“I bloody hope (we’ve taken the challenge on board), you’d want to come back in good nick and you get found out pretty quick if you don’t,” Parish said.

“(It’s been about) figuring out what your off-season looks like and how best you can come back ready to go on day one.

“We’re not waiting to start our training, it starts today. If you’re not ready, you’re going to be playing a lot of catch-up, and we’re not waiting for anyone to catch up.

“Hopefully everyone’s enjoyed their break mentally and physically and has put themselves in a great position to come back and get ready to rip in. I can’t wait to see everyone and train again.”

A busy off-season saw the Bombers bolster their list with four free agent and trade acquisitions, coming in the form of Todd Goldstein, Ben McKay, Jade Gresham and Xavier Duursma.

For Parish, the opportunity to inject some fresh personalities into the Bombers’ current mix provides even more reason for excitement upon return.

“It brings a lot of excitement and guys who are just ready to go in their footy. (They’re also) mature-aged, so they’ll fit in really nicely to the group and hopefully get some more improvement from the younger guys,” Parish said.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know them, see how they play, and what strengths they can offer to the team. It’s an exciting time to get some new faces in amongst the group.”

After a challenging end to the 2023 season, Senior Coach Brad Scott was firm on the Bombers’ potential to bridge the gap with the competition’s best sides, and Parish believes the buy-in has been clear from the group.

“We learnt last year (amongst the good sides) what we were lacking, so hopefully this off-season is another step forward in that direction. The younger players’ improvement is going to be vital to us growing as a team,” Parish said.

“The camaraderie of ‘Scotty’ (Brad Scott) and what he’s implemented to the group, another year under him is going to be great for us and we’re looking forward to improving in every area.

“I know what we’re striving for and we’ve got the right group to do it.”