`

Leeds Rhinos will only get better warns Headingley hooker Matt Parcell

Matt Parcell celebrates his try against Saints last week. PIC: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Matt Parcell celebrates his try against Saints last week. PIC: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
0
Have your say

LEEDS RHINOS have shown what they are capable of and will improve as the season goes on, star hooker Matt Parcell reckons.

Parcell was the official man of the match and scored his first try of the year in Rhinos’ surprise 28-20 victory at St Helens last week.

Ash Handley (second left) celebrates scoring his second try against St Helens. PIC: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Ash Handley (second left) celebrates scoring his second try against St Helens. PIC: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

That was the first time Leeds had scored more than 20 points in a game in 2018 and sets up a huge derby clash with Castleford Tigers at Elland Road in two days’ time.

“It’s much like last year,” Parcell recalled. “At the start of the year we didn’t score much and with Richie [Myler] coming in it’s going to take a bit of time, but we have definitely got the players who can score points.

“Obviously we have got a few forwards out at the moment, which is not ideal, but I think [last Friday] the younger forwards like Mulls [Anthony Mullally] and Brad [Singleton] and the more experienced guys like Jonesy [Jamie Jones-Buchanan] and Abbo [Carl Ablett] really stood up.

“That’s what we need, we need that bit of go-forward and we can play off the back of that.”

Anthony Mullally goes over for the Rhinos opening try at St Helens. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Anthony Mullally goes over for the Rhinos opening try at St Helens. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Rhinos were down to the bare bones last week with eight first-team squad members unavailable through injury. Two more – Ashton Golding and Kallum Watkins – failed to finish the game after each suffered a bang to the head.

With centres Liam Sutcliffe and Jimmy Keinhorst both on the casualty list, Ash Handley has played in Rhinos’ last three games and scored a crucial second-half brace against Saints.

“Ash was very good, he is really strong,” Parcell observed.

“He runs the ball very strongly and he gets good play-the-balls.

“I think when everyone’s fit we’ve got a really, really good team. There’s a lot of competition, but that’s only a good thing.

“We’ve got a few out now, but that gives the other guys a chance and they certainly showed [last week] what they can do.”

With so many Rhinos players missing, Saints were expected to be too strong.

“I guess we were written off a bit before the game,” Parcell said. “Saints were going really well, but we had that belief that if we played the way we wanted to and the way we did in the second half, we could win the game.

“I think the benefit we’ve got is we’ve got some guys who can play footy and play at them and that’s sort of what we showed in the second half.

“We scored a try late in the first half and that gave us a bit of confidence going into the second half and then we played well.

“We defended well too and I think the young guys who came on – Cam [Smith] and Mik [Oledzki] went really well.

“It will be a really good confidence boost for them.”

Parcell is ever-present this season and has played the full 80 minutes in Leeds’ last two games. He believes he is finding his feet after a slow start to the year.

“We had a bit of time off at the end of last year,” he said. “I got a bit of time to go home [to Australia] and I think it was a bit slow the first few games, it just took a bit of time to get back into it.

“We played Hull KR on a rainy night and it was snowing when we played Hull.

“You have to deal with the conditions, but I think in the long run it’s going to be really good.

“I am just getting back to running again – and playing my best.”

It is a similar situation for the team, he feels.

He pointed out: “That was a similar thing last year. As the conditions improved we got to play a bit better, but on Friday in the second half we showed what we can do.”

Of this week’s challenge, Parcell added: “Cas games are pretty big.

“They are saying they will hopefully get 25,000 or something like that, so if the weather’s good it should be a really, really good event.”