Big Bash League cricket star gets picked to make his AFL debut just three months after deciding to switch codes

  • Wil Parker makes his AFL debut this weekend
  • Parker used to be a Big Bash League star
  • He changed the codes just three months ago

Collingwood will hand Wil Parker an AFL debut just three months after he decided to put his cricket career on hold and switch codes.

Parker has emerged from the clouds, making his debut alongside second-year wingman Ed Allan against Fremantle on Friday night amid a string of injuries, including a new concern for Jordan De Goey.

The 21-year-old rebounding defender was recruited by the Magpies as a Category B rookie in February after abandoning his cricketing ambitions after more than two years on the fringes of the Victorian side.

Parker, a leg-spinner, made his Sheffield Shield debut as a 17-year-old in February 2020 but was overtaken in the state pecking order by Todd Murphy.

He only played in the BBL for the Hobart Hurricanes in January last year.

Wil Parker has been selected to play for Collingwood in the AFL this weekend

Allan will make his debut in his home state with coach Craig McRae again praising him as the ‘fittest player’ on Collingwood’s list.

McRae has revealed Jordan De Goey’s late heroics against Adelaide were done under duress as the Magpies star was ruled out for at least one match due to a ‘new’ injury.

De Goey suffered from a stomach ache during the third quarter against the Crows and pulled up painfully despite finishing the match.

De Goey was only in the Olympic Park for a short time during training on Tuesday, but quickly went inside after trying out the problem. According to McRae, it had nothing to do with the groin problem he suffered earlier this month.

‘Jordy will not play, he has a new injury and an abdominal problem. He got that in the game, played through it, and then pulled quite a bit of pain from it… he’s getting scans to see what that means,” McRae said.

‘This is actually a separate injury, the other one has settled down and this one has manifested itself as an abdominal strain – it has nothing to do with the (groin problem).

“We went through the process of assessing whether it was not OP (osteitis pubis), or the beginnings of it.”

De Goey had returned to his former role as a deep forward against the Crows amid an ongoing injury crisis at the Magpies, but McRae said that would be eased with the returns of Brody Mihocek (hamstring) and Beau McCreery (concussion) to step up to take against Fremantle. Perth on Friday evening.

“It was a bit of a revolving door and I said after the game (forwards coach) Scott Selwood and the gang did a fantastic job,” McRae said.

‘It hasn’t looked the same for three or four weeks now and we manage to find ways to still score.

‘We kicked twelve last week from an attacker who sometimes had no keys. We’ll find a way, but it’s not ideal.’

McRae said the Magpies were considering a recall for key forward Nathan Kreuger, along with potential debutants, as they considered the toll of a second successive six-day break on their senior players.

Parker switched codes from cricket to footy three months ago

Parker switched codes from cricket to footy three months ago

He again suggested that matches should be shortened to alleviate some of the physical strain, with the increasing pace of play linked to more than 150 currently injured players across the 18 clubs.

“Our game gives us feedback… About 150 injuries is a lot of feedback, it’s more than we’ve seen in our time,” McRae said.

‘If there is a problem, I look for solutions. Maybe that could be a solution? I’m not here to change the game, and maybe others can decide that.

“The GPS tells us (the game is getting faster). Running at high speed is real, and there is a cost to that, and then playing for six days (breaks)… there is a cost to that.

“This is not a Collingwood issue, I want to make that very clear… this is a club-wide issue that affects everyone.”