MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 19: Darcy Parish of the Bombers runs with the ball during the Essendon Bombers AFL Intra-Club match at True Value Solar Centre on February 19, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Essendon recruit Craig Bird believes Darcy Parish will have an immediate impact at AFL level.

Parish, the No.5 draft pick in last year’s National Draft, will be forced to make the giant leap from TAC footy to AFL due to the decimated Essendon squad after the guilty Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict. And Bird, who played 137 games for Sydney between 2008 and 2015 before crossing to the Dons at the end of last season, believes Parish is up for the challenge.

“I’m expecting Darcy to have a pretty big impact this year,” Bird told foxsports.com.au.

“He showed that he’s pretty comfortable at AFL level already.

“I think he’s going to be a really good player to be honest. He’s shown some really good signs.”

Parish recorded 18 disposals in last weekend’s NAB Challenge match with Geelong, playing in the midfield alongside Brendon Goddard, David Zaharakis and Ryan Crowley.

GET TO KNOW DARCY PARISH

Meanwhile, Bird said he that it’s not all doom and gloom for the Bombers this year, despite the suspension of 12 current players.

“You never know what’s going to happen, we might surprise a few teams,” he said.

“We’ve got to keep building these young guys. You just never know what can happen, things change really quickly in AFL.”