Over the course of our A-League 2020/21 campaign, Brisbane Roar blooded no fewer than six BRFC Academy products as talented young locals continued to earn elite opportunities with Queensland's only professional club.
Warren Moon's strong belief in homegrown players and the Club's commitment to youth development led to A-League appearances for 13 players aged 23 and under, all while reaping on-field rewards as the Roar exceeded external expectations with a fourth-placed finish.
Continuing today with Alex Parsons, we're recapping the recent achievements of the Academy graduates who broke through for professional debuts.
Before he exploded onto the A-League scene, Parsons hinted at what was to come with some eye-catching moments in pre-season.
The attacking midfielder played and scored in a 6-1 win over Rochedale Rovers in November, then backed that up spectacularly during a 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets in Coffs Harbour the following month.
Receiving possession well outside the box, he opened his body and lashed a stunning left-footed strike beyond the outstretched Jack Duncan.
It was a sign of the clean ball striking that would become an exciting feature of his breakthrough campaign.
Opening day debut
Rewarded for his performances over the previous weeks, Parsons was included in matchday calculations from the outset of the A-League season.
His debut came in front of a near capacity crowd at Moreton Daily Stadium as Brisbane entertained Melbourne City in Matchweek 1.
Parsons played the final 10 minutes, during which he helped set up a late chance for Scott McDonald.
Though the Roar were shaded on that occasion, Parsons had the chance to celebrate on-field success for the first time just a few days later when he came off the bench in stoppage time of a 3-1 away win over Melbourne Victory.
Parsons set about dominating the NPL Queensland in the period that followed, hitting eight goals over the course of Brisbane Roar Youth's first five games.
By then the competition's leading scorer, he was called back into A-League action for three transformative appearances in April.
The Ipswich product exuded calm off the bench in a 2-1 triumph over Macarthur FC, impressed again in another road win - this time against Western Sydney Wanderers - and then shot to real prominence when Brisbane met Central Coast Mariners in Matchweek 18.
Parsons opened his A-League account in the crushing 4-0 victory with a fine curling finish beyond Mark Birighitti in the 89th minute, and still had time to play a part in another for Masato Kudo.
Stepping up on the big stage
The 21-year-old's profile continued to grow as he earned his first two starts in mid-May, against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium and Newcastle Jets back in Brisbane.
His star turn against Melbourne City, the newly crowned Premiers, in Matchweek 22 included a brilliant goal from a narrow angle and cemented his status as a burgeoning fan favourite.
Then, in the home Elimination Final against Adelaide on 13 June, Parsons further proved his liking for important matches.
While it wasn't enough to rescue the Roar from defeat, the youngster's exceptional 56th-minute header set up a grandstand finish to the season.
It improved his 2020/21 goal haul to three, and strengthened the sense of excitement for what's to come next season.