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Dons' top draft pick set for immediate impact: Cooney

Alex Malcolm  January 7, 2016 10:29 PM

AFL 2015 Training - Essendon 091215

Darcy Parish is ready to make a big impact for the Dons, according to Adam Cooney

I think we'll see him pretty early on in the season

ESSENDON'S top draft pick Darcy Parish can have a similar impact in his first season to that of Western Bulldogs midfielder Marcus Bontempelli, according to Bomber veteran Adam Cooney.

Parish was taken with pick No.5 in November's NAB AFL Draft and has already impressed in his first pre-season at Essendon. 

Cooney told 3AW on Thursday that Parish reminded him of Bontempelli when he first arrived at the Western Bulldogs after being drafted in 2013.

Young Don Parish gets to grips with AFL life

"You can usually tell with one or two first-year players when they come in that they're going to make an impact straight away," Cooney said.  

"I remember Marcus Bontempelli was one at the Western Bulldogs a few years ago. As soon as he walked in the door, you knew that he was just going to make an impact straight away and it was a bit like that with Darcy Parish.  

"He's a little bit skinnier and a little bit smaller but when he has the footy in his hands he really uses it well and I think we'll see him pretty early on in the season." 

By comparison, Cooney said he was easing his way into a 13th pre-season.

The 30-year-old had ankle surgery during the off-season but hoped to be in full training by February.

"I started running about four or five weeks ago," Cooney said.

"I'm hoping to join the main group in the next couple of weeks before the NAB Challenge."

The Bombers face Carlton in their first NAB Challenge match on February 28. Cooney said the club would unveil a significantly different game plan under new coach John Worsfold. 

Worsfold has already stated the need to score more after Essendon averaged just 72 points per game last season. But Cooney said the Bombers are also likely to defend higher up the ground in 2016. 

"I think that's the way all the good teams are playing," Cooney said.

"It's really hard once you do get the ball out of defence, it's hard to work through a defence like that so I think we will defend higher up the ground." 

Following the clash with Carlton, the Bombers will round off their NAB Challenge campaign with matches against Geelong in Shepparton and West Coast in Perth.