INFLUENTIAL HOOKER Matt Parcell is confident of being fit for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final – and says it is the sort of game he came to England to play in.
Parcell has been a key figure for Rhinos since his late-notice move from Manly Sea Eagles just before Christmas.
He missed last Friday’s defeat at Wigan Warriors due to a neck injury, but expects to take the field against Hull at Doncaster in four days’ time.
“I should be fine,” he said.
“I was pretty close on Friday, but it’s a big game this week and we didn’t want to push anything.
“I tried to get through training last week, but it wasn’t 100 per cent so it was better to be safe than sorry.”
The semi-final will be the biggest game of Parcell’s Leeds career so far.
“I am very excited about it,” he said.
“For the club it is a big thing to go from where the club was last year to playing in a Challenge Cup semi-final.
“We are all pretty excited and looking forward to it.”
Rhinos are on an eight-game winning run against Hull and beat the Cup holders 10-7 in Super League less than two weeks ago.
But Parcell reckons form and previous results will count for nothing this weekend.
Key men Albert Kelly and Gareth Ellis, who missed the league game, are expected to feature for Hull on Saturday.
And Parcell predicted: “It is going to be another tight game.
“They are a very physical team and they’ve got some big guys.
“They are going to be very strong so we will have to be on top of our game.
“That’s why you play footy, for big games.
“There’ a lot on the line and for me personally, to get to Wembley would be unreal.
“It is going to be very exciting.”
Parcell was one of 15 players unavailable for the game at Wigan.
Keith Galloway suffered a season-ending Achilles injury against Hull, but Stevie Ward, Ryan Hall, Joel Moon, Danny McGuire, Brad Singleton and Adam Cuthbertson are expected to return this week, alongside Parcell.
Leeds’ side at Wigan included seven teenagers and Parcell reckons the club has a bright future. He said: “We should be all right this week. Everybody – hopefully – should be back on board.
“But it was a good experience for the guys.
“It was a pretty tough game; there were three debuting and it was a very young team.
“It is definitely an experience they can take with them going forward. It was a big ask, especially now Wigan are finding some form and they’ve got a lot of players back.
“It was always going to be a tough game, but they all went out and played quite well so it is something they will gain a lot of experience from.”