Parker standing tall at Swans

Midfielder Luke Parker during a training session at the SCG. Picture: EDWINA PICKLES
Midfielder Luke Parker during a training session at the SCG. Picture: EDWINA PICKLES


Keeping it simple is paying off big-time for Luke Parker, the sturdy smaller oak thriving in the growing forest of tall Sydney AFL forward timber.

With a premiership and 65 senior games already under his belt at the age of 21, Parker has been one of Sydney's best players this season.

He stood tall when other members of Sydney's stellar midfield floundered during their 1-3 start to the season.

Averaging 24 disposals a game, the tenacious midfielder-small forward was a central figure in the Swans' resurgence, which has produced four straight wins.

"When we're at our best, we can match it with anyone," Parker said on Wednesday.

"That's what we did against Hawthorn and we've got to do it again this week [against Essendon]."

Adding value to his ability to win the hard ball and make good decisions, Parker also emerged as a regular goal kicker.

While the focus has been on Sydney's star-studded quartet of tall forwards, the 184cm-tall Parker quietly worked his way up to second place on Sydney's goal-kicking chart this season.

He has 10 for the year - all kicked in the past six games - behind only Lance Franklin.

"It's always good to sneak forward and kick a couple," said Parker, who sounded surprised he was in double figures.

"I've just been playing more consistent football. I've been keeping a pretty simple mindset.

"Every week, I'm just focusing on the basics and that's showing, I think.

"I'm not getting too worried about [getting] caught up or confused out there."

Parker joked that Sydney had too many forwards for their midfielders to choose from.

Asked if Franklin had been having more goal-kicking practice this week after kicking just 2.7 against his former club Hawthorn last Friday, Parker joked: "I hope so.

"If he kicked straight, people would have said that he was amazing.

"I think his effort last week was awesome."

A win over Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday would take Sydney to 6-3 and consolidate a top-eight spot going into a week off.

Parker has previously had the job of trying to curtail the influence of Essendon talisman and captain Jobe Watson. - AAP


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