Parcell looking to deliver for Broncos
Brisbane's latest debutant Matt Parcell hopes he can continue to deliver the goods off the bench for the Broncos over the coming weeks after a flawless beginning to life in the NRL.
Parcell became the Broncos' 216th player on Saturday night when he entered the field in the 53rd minute during their 24-12 win over the Raiders in Canberra.
The 22-year-old hooker was drafted into Wayne Bennett's side just two days before Brisbane's Round 12 clash as a replacement for utility Kodi Nikorima, who will miss four weeks due to a knee injury sustained against the Knights in Round 11.
Called into action with the game evenly balanced at 16-12, the Ipswich-born rake played the final 27 minutes in his preferred No. 9 role, shifting regular hooker Andrew McCullough to lock in order to cover for an Origin-weary Corey Parker.
Noted for his sheer speed coming out of dummy-half, the Fassifern Bombers' junior was given a thorough defensive examination by the likes of Raiders' enforcers Josh Papalii, David Shillington and Shannon Boyd.
Parcell didn't let his side down during his on-field cameo, making 21 tackles and one run for 12 metres as the Broncos ground out a hard-fought victory in the nation's capital.
"It was a great experience getting the call up. I knew I was going to play on Thursday and the whole week was a real thrill – it was unbelievable really," Parcell said.
"[Playing NRL] was always a goal and I've got a long way to go and heaps of things to work on but it's a great achievement."
The 181-centimetre, 81-kilogram baby-faced Bronco was called up to the side from the Ipswich Jets and is looking to improve on his defensive capabilities as he continues to make the transition from Intrust Super Cup to NRL.
"The biggest change for me was defence. I knew playing [Intrust Super] Cup that I can attack but going out there the [Canberra] game didn't really allow for attack as much because we had to grind it out in the end," he said.
"But now I know I can go out there and defend with the big boys. It was good fun."
Parcell's journey into the NRL hasn't taken a traditional route through the NYC under-20s, with the civil engineering student having to ply his trade playing in the state league while completing his university degree.
"I went from school to play colts and this is my fourth season in Queensland Cup. I didn’t play [under]-20s and wasn’t with an NRL club until this year.
"Players shouldn’t give up if they don’t make 20s, there's other ways to go around it."
A member of Brisbane's Auckland Nine's squad, Parcell fended off interest from the Roosters, Bulldogs and Titans to sign a one-year deal with Brisbane for 2015.
The move has paid dividends in the form of an NRL debut and a masterclass hooking tutorial in training from 159-game veteran McCullough.
"Macca's been a big help. I've always had a running game but being able to practice squaring up and passing with him and watching his kicking game is unbelievable," Parcell said.
"Some of those 40/20s he does for the team are a massive help so I've been trying to work on my kicking game a little. I never really had one before coming here."
Normally accustomed to playing in warm, dry conditions for the Jets at North Ipswich Reserve, Parcell is relishing the opportunity to play at Suncorp Stadium against Manly on Friday night.
"It will be unbelievable playing there. It was pretty cold down in Canberra and the crowd was against us, but to run out onto a stadium where all the fans are cheering you on will be a great experience."