Darcy Parish during the AFL match between Essendon and Adelaide, Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media

Essendon free agent Darcy Parish is reported to be leaning toward re-signing with the Bombers amid interest from Geelong.

The 25-year-old inked a two-year extension in 2021 to take himself to free agency for this year, with Parish falling under the restricted band given his place among the top 25% of earners at Tullamarine.

The move has opened the door for a bidding war between the Bombers and any keen external suitors, with Geelong named as a potential bidder given Parish's links to the greater Geelong area.

With the AFL now reaching its bye rounds period, off-contract players across the competition are expected to commence contract discussions before the back end of the season commences.

According to reporter Tom Browne, Parish's future could be made clearer in the coming weeks, with signs pointing to a contract extension at Bomberland.

"Geelong are in the hunt for Darcy Parish. I was reliably informed yesterday from a very good trade source that Geelong is interested in the free agent," Browne told Triple M on Friday.

Darcy Parish during the AFL match between Essendon and Adelaide, Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media

"Having said that, I spoke to some sources connected to discussions with the Bombers, and they think that Parish wants to stay at Essendon. He's got a partner in Melbourne, he's got family on the outskirts of Geelong.

"(Sources) think he wants to stay at the Bombers and there could be movement there, as far as Essendon's concerned, in the next couple of weeks.

"My take from all that, there's positive signs he wants to stay at Essendon. Geelong are naturally in the market, that's their modus operandi - bringing guys from Geelong back to the area.

"But there's certainly positive signs Parish will recommit to the Bombers. If he doesn't in the next week or so I think that would spell alarm bells."

Parish isn't the only restricted free agent on Essendon's books, with defender Mason Redman also said to be garnering interest from South Australia.

Adelaide are seen as the leading rival suitor for the in-form Bomber, while Essendon are hopeful of retaining their fiery flanker.

Essendon have managed to re-sign key names throughout the course of 2023, with Peter Wright and Ben Hobbs both committing to the club.

The Bombers do have Dyson Heppell, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Harrison Jones, Will Snelling, Jye Menzie and Massimo D'Ambrosio, among others, still yet to confirm their futures beyond this year.