Leeds hooker Matt Parcell admits the opportunity to play in big games such as tonight’s play-off semi-final with Hull was why he moved to England – but he insists the Rhinos owe the Black and Whites one.
The Rhinos can ensure Parcell’s debut season in Super League culminates with a Grand Final appearance against Castleford next Saturday should they beat Hull tonight, setting up an all-West Yorkshire affair in the process.
And the hooker concedes that they are determined to set the record straight from earlier in the season, when they were ruthlessly dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Hull in the semi-finals.
He told TotalRL: “Everyone’s really excited.
“You can feel the shift in attitude and the buzz when it gets to the play-offs. It’s a good chance to see where we’re at; we’ve been good against Hull in the league but in the cup, when it mattered I guess, they outplayed us that day. It’s a good test. It’s still in the back of my mind because we were poor – it’s time to rectify that.
“This is what I came over for, to play in the big games and the ones that matter. You try and contain the excitement but by the time Friday comes around everyone will be buzzing and, more importantly, everyone will be ready.”
Parcell has been a revelation for Leeds in 2017, earning a place in the Super League Dream Team in his first year since moving from Manly.
And the hooker admits that the opportunity to play on a regular basis has helped bring the best out of him – while also insisting that he’s loved the experience of life in England.
“It’s been a great year,” he said.
“I’ve been really enjoying the year, having a lot of fun and I guess that has shown on the field. It’s a really big honour to be named in the team.
“The whole experience, in terms of getting to know my way around, has been really fun. I’ve really enjoyed the ride so far. I was always confident coming over there that I could fit in and play well, and that’s why I made the move, but it’s been refreshing to be able to play to my strengths this year. The biggest thing is that when you’re playing good stuff, you’re enjoying yourself.
“The opportunity to start every week has allowed me to prepare better and focus on improving my game: again, I can’t stress how much I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a really good club, everyone has made me feel welcome and I’m loving it.”