K rock Football

Parsons pushing his case

James Parsons in action during one of his two AFL games in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THERE is not a whole lot more James Parsons can do to push his case for AFL selection.

The 22-year-old is fit, ready and performing at a level Geelong VFL coach Shane O’Bree believes is a “class above” that required in the second-tier competition.

But Parsons knows he will have to bide his time before breaking into a powerful Cats midfield unit.

“I’m trying to push my way in but also waiting for an opening,” Parsons said after racking up 23 disposals and two goals in the Cats’ narrow VFL defeat to Box Hill on Saturday.

“If there is an opening, I’ll take it with both hands and go for it. That’s the mindset at the moment.

“But we’re obviously doing very well at the moment, and it’s not an easy side to get into.

“I’m trying to be consistent and show that I can do it for four quarters.

“I’m feeling really fresh and confident in my game. I’ve still got a lot of things to improve on, but I’m comfortable that I can play my role if I come in.”

A rookie draft selection in 2016, Parsons played 31 AFL games in his first two seasons, predominantly as a small forward.

But after taking on a new role as an inside midfielder over summer, he has managed just two senior appearances this year.

Despite the limited opportunities, Parsons has enjoyed learning from some of the game’s biggest and brightest stars.

Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan, Scott Selwood and Tim Kelly have all played vital roles in his development.

So, too, have O’Bree and Cats assistant coach Nigel Lappin, who boast 525 games of AFL experience between them.

The knowledge they have passed on has aided Parsons in his bid to become a reliable ball-winner, averaging 21.6 disposals in eight VFL matches this season.

“I did a lot of pre-season there (as an inside midfielder), and at training, I’m playing against guys like Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood and Tim Kelly,” Parsons said.

“Those guys are just guns, and I’ve got a lot of exposure against them, so to come out here and try put it into games, it has really helped me.”

Parsons has been Geelong’s best players at VFL level over the past fortnight, tallying 51 possessions as a driving force through the midfield.

O’Bree nominated the Eastern Ranges product as one of a handful of his charges on the verge of senior selection.

“Parso has had an amazing six weeks,” O’Bree said.

“In the last two weeks, he’s looked a class above VFL level.”

O’Bree said Sam Simpson, Wylie Buzza and Scott Selwood were also ready to be called up to AFL level if needed, while Lachie Henderson and Quinton Narkle are building nicely on return from extended injury lay-offs.

“Scooter (Selwood) is just super consistent and reliable, and very good at what he does,” O’Bree said.

“Sam Simpson is another one that’s had a good six weeks, and Buzza as well.

“(Henderson and Narkle) are still getting wound up. They showed patches (against Box Hill), and they’re heading in the right direction again.

“We’ve just got to get as much content as we can into them, so they feel right and if they get an AFL opportunity they’re good to go.”

Twitter: @shayne_hope