"MY EYES sort of lit up."
In the wash-up of Carlton's win over Essendon, the moment that has been identified as a turning point in the contest came courtesy of Luke Parks.
In his third game at the level, Parks had his best performance yet for the Blues, returning from a hamstring injury to play a role in defence against the Bombers.
Parks’ tackling and aerial work was something to keep an eye on, with a mammoth tackle on Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti that brought the crowd to their feet and seemingly shifted the momentum of the game.
“I thought he was going to take off as soon as he hit that junction but he slowed up and I don’t think he realised I was coming,” Parks said.
“My eyes sort of lit up when I knew I got that tackle but I was pretty stoked to get that one.
"He’s a big boy" I was pretty winded after that, he’s strong.”
Parks and wreck-reation. ??— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) May 3, 2021
Presenting the hard hits of the week for Round 7. Yes, Luke Parks features prominently. pic.twitter.com/5VO8XFy7IX
It was the first time Parks had played on the big stage of the MCG, and with 57,000 in the house, it was unlike anything he had experienced before.
One thing he could definitely get used to is his winning run: the first-year Blue has emerged victorious in each of his three career games to date.
“Yesterday was crazy: you could feel the crowd underneath your feet,” he said.
“I sort of stopped for a second and had a look up and I remember when I was sitting in the stands and it’s crazy to be standing on the field.”
Parks is settling well into life at the AFL level, learning his role on the field and grateful for the experience he is getting.
Selected in last year's rookie draft, the unassuming defender has looked right at home at the level and feels as though he is settling more and more each week.
“Everyone at Carlton has really looked after me and walked me through the process so the nerves have calmed down quite a lot,” he said.
“Heaps of the older boys have let me know how their first couple of games were and what to do and what not to do.
“After every game, I feel more comfortable coming into the next one and trying to remember to play my role and not do anything too crazy and stick to my strengths.”