BEING ABLE to do his own thing has brought the best out of Leeds Rhinos’ Australian hooker Matt Parcell, he has revealed.
Parcell - in his first season at the club - was the only Rhinos player included in the 2017 Betfred Super League Dream team.
He has also been voted Rhinos’ fans’ player of the year and was runner-up to Joel Moon for the club’s top individual award.
Parcell’s 19 tries are the most by a Leeds forward in a summer-era season and he will be pivotal to Rhinos’ hopes of winning their next two matches - and the Super League title.
The 24-year-old was signed from NRL side Manly Sea Eagles a month before the season began, after previous No9 James Segeyaro refused to return for pre-season training.
He has relished Super League’s more attacking nature, but said it is Rhinos’ brand of rugby which has really allowed him to flourish.
“I have come from a club that played a different style,” Parcell said. “Clubs can have two different ways for a hooker to play - either as a distributor or as a runner.
“Back where I was in Australia they wanted more of a distributor and that’s not my strength - my strength is to run.
“Obviously Super League is a bit freer, but it hasn’t just been the Super League - it has been the ability for me to go out and play what I see.
“It has been quite a refreshing year coming over here and being able to play some footy and I hope that has shown on the field, because I am having a lot of fun.”
It has been quite a refreshing year coming over here and being able to play some footy and I hope that has shown on the field, because I am having a lot of fun.Leeds Rhinos’ Matt Parcell
Parcell will be up against last year’s Dream team hooker, Danny Houghton, when Leeds face Hull in Friday’s sudden-death semi-final - and said he can’t wait.
“All year you are waiting for this time of year to come around,” Parcell said.
“It is going to be, hopefully, a big two weeks.
“Friday is Magsy [Danny McGuire] and Rob [Burrow]’s last games at Headingley so it is going to be a big occasion for the club.”
League leaders Castleford Tigers dominate the Dream Team with full-back Zak Hardaker, winger Greg Eden, centre Michael Shenton, scrum-half Luke Gale, prop Grant Millington and second-row Mike McMeeken all included.
Hull are represented by winger Mahe Fonua and stand-off Albert Kelly and the side also features St Helens centre Mark Percival, Huddersfield Giants prop Sebastine Ikahihifo, Salford Red Devils second-row Ben Murdoch-Masila and loose-forward Sean O’Loughlin, of Wigan Warriors.
Parcell is Leeds’ only representative, but he said: “It is a tough one.
“Obviously Cas have won the league leaders’ shield and Hull won the Challenge Cup final and I guess we are in a position where we’ve had a good year, but we haven’t won anything.
“I think that makes a difference.”
Of his own achievement, he added: “I knew about the Dream Team from back home so it is really good to get in it.”