Red-hot midfielder Darcy Parish has opted to remain at Essendon, signing a new two-year contract with the AFL club.
The 23-year-old joins fellow star midfielder Zach Merrett, who inked a fresh six-year deal last month, in recommitting to the Bombers.
Devon Smith, Mason Redman, Harrison Jones, Brayden Ham, Nick Bryan and Alec Waterman have also re-signed this season.
Confirmation of Parish’s new deal comes after he produced yet another best afield display with 43 disposals in Essendon’s loss to Geelong last Friday night.
Taken at No.5 overall in the 2015 draft, Parish has relished a full-time move into the midfield in Rutten’s first year at the helm.
He is averaging a career-high 32 disposals and 8.2 clearances this season.
Parish was due to come out of contract at the end of this year but is now tied to the Bombers until at least the end of 2023.
“We’re building something pretty special at Essendon and it was a very easy decision to sign on again,” Parish said.
“We have a really clear plan under Truck (Rutten) and Dyson’s (captain Dyson Heppell) leadership and we’re all really determined and hungry to build on what we’ve started this year, but we know we have a long way to go.”
Essendon last played finals in 2019 and have not won a final in almost 17 years.
But the Bombers (6-9) are still in the hunt for September action this season, sitting six points behind eighth-placed GWS.
They will start favourites against Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
“It’s been a really enjoyable place to be this season,” Parish said.
“I think that is really evident to our members and supporters and we have a lot of growth in us as a developing team.
“I’m excited to continue to build my own game and to see what’s in store as we continue to develop as a playing group over the coming years.”
Parish debuted in the opening round of 2016 and has played 108 of a possible 123 games for Essendon.