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New Cats' No.3 named Rising Star nominee

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 02: Brandan Parfitt of the Cats in action during the 2017 AFL round 02 match between the Geelong Cats and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium on April 02, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Brandan Parfitt had 23 touches against the Demons
When I was debuting, he sent me a message with congratulations and that was pretty cool. I was pretty shocked (to get Bartel's number) and I had mixed emotions.
Brandan Parfitt on Jimmy Bartel

HAVING fellow Northern Territorians Steven Motlop and Nakia Cockatoo there to roll out the welcome mat at the Cattery was all the leg-up Brandan Parfitt required. 

The 18-year-old was already highly rated at Geelong, with Cats recruiting boss Stephen Wells making a habit of panning for gold in the Top End.

Wells, considered one of the best in his business, also oversaw the drafting of dual premiership-winning star Mathew Stokes and Nathan Djerrkura, whose careers began in Darwin.

Parfitt became the latest footballer Wells plucked from the NT – via Nightcliff in the NTFL, then North Adelaide in the SANFL – when he called out his name at pick 26 in last year's NAB AFL Draft. 

The teenager, nicknamed 'Boo' for his quiet nature but entrusted with Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel's No.3, hasn't missed a beat since. 

He was a strong performer in his first AFL pre-season and broke into Geelong's round one line-up before a 23-disposal, five-tackle effort in a winning Cats cause over Melbourne on Saturday. 

Two rewards came Parfitt's way: coach Chris Scott wrapped his arm around him in the immediate aftermath and now he is the round three NAB AFL Rising Star nominee.

"It's a pretty cool feeling after all the hard work over the summer, so it's good to see it pay off," Parfitt told

"It was definitely an easy adjustment to already know two blokes (Motlop and Cockatoo), but I've made some really good mates and I'm staying with a great host family. 

"There is a lot of talent in Darwin and it's not as exposed as places down here."

Parfitt is playing a high forward role, but still involving himself in as many stoppages as possible, on Scott's instruction, as he eyes a future midfield role.

In the meantime, his primary task is to keep learning and apply as much defensive pressure as possible.

Bartel reportedly likes what he sees in Parfitt. 

"I met him once pretty causally and he just said, 'How you going?' and we had some small talk," Parfitt said. 

"When I was debuting, he sent me a message with congratulations and that was pretty cool. I was pretty shocked (to get Bartel's number) and I had mixed emotions. 

"I didn’t really want it that much at the start, but I've grown into it. I looked up to him when I was younger, so to wear his number, I didn't know what to think."

Parfitt was an All Australian as a bottom-age player at the 2015 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, only for groin and knee issues to spoil his draft year. 

There have been no such worries since arriving at Simonds Stadium. 

"I did a lot of groin strengthening at the end of last year and over the summer as well, and I'm feeling really good with my body," he said. 

"It's round three and I'm still feeling pretty good, so hopefully my body can keep up with it. 

"But the coaches have been really good with me and I talk to them whenever I'm drained and my body is not feeling up to it."

Parfitt joined Territory products Ben Long (St Kilda) – an emergency last round – and Willie Rioli (West Coast) in being selected at last year's draft.

Hawthorn also swooped on Darwin-based ruckman Tony Olango post-draft thanks to a new next generation academy rule and is set to bring him into the nest at the end of the season.

NAB AFL Rising Star hub: news, nominees and past winners

How does the Rising Star Award work and who is eligible?