NEWLY-ARRIVED Australian signing Matt Parcell says he is at Leeds Rhinos for the long haul.
Parcell is the third overseas hooker to join Rhinos in 15 months, but insists he is happy to be at the club, has settled in well already and believes Betfred Super League will suit his running style.
Rhinos paid NRL club Manly Sea Eagles an undisclosed fee for the 24-year-old last month.
Aussie Beau Falloon, who began 2016 as Rhinos’ no9, was released midway through last season after just 10 appearances and replaced on a short-term deal by Papua New Guinea international James Segeyaro.
But Segeyaro refused to return from his off-season break just two months after penning a two-year contract and Parcell was signed at short-notice to take over.
Rhinos say they have not received an offer or held negotiations with any other club for Segeyaro, who remains on Leeds’ register and cannot sign elsewhere without their approval.
Asked at an introductory press conference if homesickness – Segeyaro’s stated reason for staying in Australia – is a concern, Parcell stressed: “I am confident that won’t be a problem.
“It is something I have always wanted to do and I really enjoy the travel side and the opportunity to live on the other side of the world.
“I have been here a few days, I am settling in really well and the weather’s not been too bad.
“It is a bit of a heatwave back home so I’d rather be over here! I am really looking forward to the opportunity here and I want to be here long term.”
Parcell is a former Brisbane Broncos team-mate of Leeds prop Mitch Garbutt and was coached at Ipswich Jets by Ben Walker, who spent the 2002 season at Rhinos. He said both men spoke highly of the club, and he added: “I am just getting over the jetlag, but so far everything has been great, I can’t fault it.”
Parcell could have remained at Manly, but reckoned the chance to join Leeds was too good to miss. He said: “I was contracted at Manly for another two years, but I got talking to Gary [Hetherington, Rhinos’ chief executive} and I talked to Brian [McDermott, Leeds’ coach] and I thought this move would be best for my career.
“The opportunity here was really exciting and something I really wanted to do. Leeds didn’t do as well as they wanted to last year, but they’ve always been a very proud club.
“When I decided to come here [to England] it’s one of the clubs I really wanted to come to and when this opportunity came up it was too good to pass up.”
McDermott has confirmed Parcell will make his first Rhinos appearance when Hull KR visit Headingley tomorrow for Ryan Hall’s testimonial game.
“Talking to a few of the boys, they say the atmosphere is pretty crazy here [at Headingley] so I am looking forward to that,” Parcell said.
“They’ve really talked it up. It was my first time out there for the team photo, so it’s pretty exciting.”
Tomorrow will be Parcell’s first live experience of the European game. He said: “I hope it’s going to be a bit quicker [than the NRL} and will suit me a bit better and my ability to run and be a bit more open.”