Leeds Rhinos: Playmaker Parcell has grounds for optimism

AUSSIE HOOKER Matt Parcell reckons both he and Leeds Rhinos will get better with more game time and as conditions improve.

Friday, 17th February 2017, 5:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:18 am
Matt Parcell.

Parcell made his debut in last week’s Betfred Super League round one defeat at St Helens and is aiming to impress again away to Leigh Centurions tonight.

“It was a good, low-scoring encounter last week which was a good introduction to Super League,” Parcell said.

“I didn’t expect my first game to finish 6-4, but it was a good experience and I guess we’ve got a good base now we can work off.

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“There’s a lot we can improve on, but I feel we will get better, especially our attack. That will really improve in a short amount of time.”

Parcell admitted last week’s freezing conditions weren’t what he is used to, but the former Brisbane Broncos and Manly Sea Eagles man insisted the weather – or playing surface – is no excuse.

“The field was quite good last week, though it was a bit soft under-foot,” he said.

“But I think we will get better when the grounds harden up.

“I still feel we can improve on some stuff and there will be a lot more opportunities for me once we get some combinations going and we’ve had more chance to work on a few things.

“I feel like as the grounds start to firm up it will improve me, but there’s still a lot of opportunity for me in the colder months.”

Parcell was a late addition to Rhinos’ squad, only arriving in this country last month, but he stressed: “I have settled in really well. Off last Thursday we have got a sort of base. In the first game a lot of the boys lacked the ball in hand, but I feel that as the weeks go on we are going to get a lot more variation and a lot more opportunities for me, hopefully.”

Tonight is Leigh’s first home Super League game since 2005 and Rhinos are expecting a hostile atmosphere.

Parcell said: “From what someone told me, being their first home game they will be a very tough team.

“I am expecting another tough encounter, much like St Helens, so we will see how we go. Hopefully the atmosphere will be really good. I guess most of them will be supporting Leigh, but when you’re on the field it doesn’t really matter.

“You just want a good crowd and a good atmosphere to play in.”

Leigh will be without veteran Aussie back-rower Glenn Stewart, who was injured in last Friday’s defeat at Castleford Tigers. Parcell admitted that is a boost for Rhinos. He said: “I didn’t play with Glenn, he left Manly before I got there, but I have watched him a lot growing up. He is a class player. The experience he has had over the years at Manly and the success he’s had there can only benefit Leigh.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos’ scholarship under-16s begin their season against Newcastle Thunder at Stanningley tomorrow (12.30pm).