Luke Parker was gutted to fall short of finals footy for the first time in his career this year, but the Sydney Swans co-captain says the young team set a strong foundation for seasons ahead.
Parker made his AFL debut in Round 8, 2011 and strung together 195 games without missing a finals campaign.
The star midfielder’s astounding run ended when the Swans finished 15th on the ladder this year, but he’s looking back on the testing campaign through a positive lens.
“It was disappointing to not play finals for my first time ever, but I learned a lot this year,” Parker told SwansTV.
“I took a lot out of the new group coming through and thoroughly enjoyed teaching them, playing with them and building that synergy. Hopefully going forward that will hold us in good stead in the seasons to come.”
Parker led the way for Oliver Florent, James Rowbottom and a host of other emerging midfielders this year.
Young on-baller George Hewett is a long-time student of Parker’s exceptional example and reaped the rewards in 2019, finishing runner-up to Dane Rampe in the Club Champion voting.
Hewett’s career-best season earned him the inaugural Adam Goodes Trophy, while Parker rounded out the top three to collect the first Peter Bedford Trophy in history.
Parker finished in the top three in average disposals (25.4), contested possessions (12), clearances (5.4) and tackles per match (5.2).
“We had a patch through the middle of the year where I personally felt I was playing good football,” Parker said.
“I had to push through a few niggles towards the end of the year, but I think I was able to get myself up and going as much as I could and perform at my best.”