There's every chance Matt Parcell will spend the bulk of 2016 sharing hooking duties with teammate Api Koroisau but he says after a big pre-season and an energetic Nines campaign he's ready for the rigours of 80-minute NRL if his coach requires it.
Koroisau was expected to be Manly's first-choice starting hooker but off-season shoulder surgery has put him out of playing any trials and racing the clock for Round 1, while Parcell himself will sit out this weekend after straining a hamstring in the Nines.
It's a blow for the former Ipswich gun to miss out on a rare chance to face his former side but says it's a case of better safe than sorry with a Round 1 clash against Canterbury just a fortnight away.
"I'm disappointed about that, I was really keen to play but it's better to be safe than sorry," Parcell told NRL.com.
"Just from the Nines, I strained my hamstring in the Titans game there so if I go and play and do it again I'm out for 4-6 weeks so it's better to be safe."
While Parcell hoped his old club would put on a show he laughed of suggestions he may feel mixed loyalties when he's watching from the sidelines.
"It'll be a really entertaining game and hopefully Ippy go well and make a real good contest out of it [but] I'll be going for Manly," he laughed.
"But it will be good to see all the guys again and show them around down here so I can't wait."
Parcell said he has taken plenty of confidence out of his six games for Brisbane last season, as well as a brilliant Nines campaign where he played full 18-minute games for the most part and scored two match-winning tries as his injury-hit side progressed out of their group to the quarter-finals.
"I got a lot of confidence out of the Nines, it was really good to get out there. I played full games for most of it and fitness-wise I feel really good and can't wait for the season to start.
"I did the [NRL] pre-season [at Brisbane] last year but I think this one topped it, this one was pretty solid. It's a bit different this year being in the NRL squad, different to playing as a backup but I'm really enjoying it."
He said it was a different feeling taking part in a pre-season under the expectation of playing NRL at the start of the season proper but said he was more excited than nervous.
"I got a lot of confidence out of last year, then when I was called on at the Broncos there I felt I could handle the NRL and towards the back end of last year I felt I was as prepared as I can be to be an NRL first grader.
"I don't take things too seriously. I back what I've done in the pre-season, I have a lot of confidence in my ability so I'll go out there to enjoy my time and be more excited than nervous."
Parcell said while he wasn't sure if Koroisau would be fit for Round 1, he expected to be sharing the role with the former Panther and Rabbitoh.
"We push each other [at training], I guess we'll find out when the season comes how it's going to go but I guess we'll probably share it. I just try and work as hard as I can each session and I guess we're different styles but I guess that's a good thing."