KEEPING it simple is paying off for Luke Parker, the sturdy smaller oak thriving in the growing forest of tall forward timber at the Sydney Swans.
With a premiership and 65 senior games already under his belt at the age of 21, Parker has been one of the Swans' 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 has been 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 has also emerged as a regular goalkicker.
While the focus has been on Sydney's star-studded quartet of tall forwards, the 184cm Parker has quietly worked his way up to second place on Sydney's goalkicking list this season.
He has 10 for the year – all kicked in the past six games – leaving him only behind Lance Franklin.
"It's always good to sneak forward and kick a couple," said Parker.
"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 the Swans had too many forwards for their midfielders to choose from.
Asked if Franklin had been having more goalkicking practice this week after kicking 2.7 against his former club Hawthorn last Friday, Parker joked: "I hope so."
"If he kicked straight, people would have said he was amazing," Parker said.
"I think his effort last week was awesome."
A win over Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday would take the Swans to 6-3 and consolidate a top-eight spot going into their bye.
Parker has previously had the job of trying to curtail the influence of Essendon talisman and captain Jobe Watson.
"He's a monster in the middle," Parker said.
"You just want to stick your tackles, because you know how damaging he is when he gets on the move."