In his first four games of senior football this season, Irving Mosquito already cemented himself as a fan favourite among the Bomber faithful.
A crafty, skilful half-forward flanker who brings tenacious tackling and a mercurial goal sense, the 20-year-old looks set to have a big future in the red and black.
Drafted with pick No.38 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, Mosquito bided his time in the VFL in 2019 before earning the chance to feature at AFL level.
Making his debut in the historic Dreamtime in Darwin match in round 13 this year, Mosquito delighted with two first-half goals, providing a spark whenever he was in the vicinity of the football.
His form held true, holding his spot in the side for the next three games until tragedy hit when he was struck down with an ACL injury in round 16 against Geelong.
Sitting down for a chat with teammate David Zaharakis in Blazing the Trail - a short video series on Essendon's 2020 debutants brought to you by House of Marley - Mosquito reflected on his journey to wearing the famous red sash on that magical evening in Darwin, singling out a few key people who helped him along the way.
“I built a good relationship with Adrian Dodoro (general manager of list and recruiting),” Mosquito said.
“I talked to him a lot about working with Sean Murphy (head of strength and conditioning) to lose weight and 'skinnies' (skinfolds).
“(Dyson) Heppell took me under his wing to do extra training when he was injured, so that was a big part of it.
“I guess when I was on the field, I was ready to go.”
Mosquito’s favourite moment from his debut was an easy choice, with his sublime efforts in front of goal the clear winner.
What made the occasion even more special was a certain family member who was in attendance watching.
“Probably my two goals, my second one was pretty massive, that was special,” he said.
“My aunty was at the ground and I just had good fun, enjoyed it and was smiling all the time.
“We didn’t get the result, but I was just loving it.”
As he looks ahead to the future, Mosquito will inevitably be forced to have an extended period on the sidelines as he works his way back from one of the toughest injuries a player can sustain.
But he carries the philosophy that hard work will carry him in good stead.
“(I have) the willingness to work harder, because AFL is a running game now and you have to stay fit,” he said.
“So that’s the main thing for me in being consistent with that and that’s one of my big things going forward.”
Blazing the Trail is brought to you by the club's official headphone and portable audio partner House of Marley. Stay tuned for episodes on Ned Cahill and Sam Draper, as the youngsters talk about what prepared them for their debuts, their favourite moments from it, and what they learned.