NEW HORIZONS: Former Ipswich Jets player Matt Parcell will join the Leeds Rhinos after a standout season with the Manly Sea Eagles.
NEW HORIZONS: Former Ipswich Jets player Matt Parcell will join the Leeds Rhinos after a standout season with the Manly Sea Eagles. Rob Williams

English club sweating on an early Christmas Parcell

FORMER Ipswich Jet and current Manly Sea Eagles hooker, Matt Parcell could be spending Christmas in the United Kingdom after agreeing to a transfer with the Leeds Rhinos.

The Super League outfit have been left in limbo after former Penrith Panthers star James Segeyaro walked out on his two-year contract with the Rhinos.

English media have labelled the 24-year-old as "the perfect Christmas present'' with speculation Parcell could join the club in time for Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge on Boxing Day.

Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson told the QT he believed the move would go ahead despite Parcell having only played one season in the NRL.

"As I understand it, it is happening," Johnson said.

"When you look at the figures from this season, he was one of the best hookers in the NRL and there's no doubt Trent Barrett would have played him in Manly's first grade side next year.

"But Leeds would have been very generous in their offer and at 24 years old, Matty loves travelling and being over there he will have plenty of opportunities."

Turning his back on the National Youth Competition to earn his stripes with the Ipswich Jets, Parcell had been one of the shining lights in an otherwise lacklustre season for the Manly Sea Eagles.

With plenty of speed to burn and a professional approach to the game, Johnson had no doubts as to whether the young hooker would make the grade in the Super League competition.

"He will kill that competition just as Seggy did because of their slowness in defence," he said. "Their line speed is slower and English forwards are strong carriers so if he can get behind a good forward he will light up the pitch.

"With his qualifications as an engineer this is a wonderful life opportunity to use rugby league as a journey to travel the world and still be able to come back and have a great career away from footy.

"It's what we try to encourage with all of our young players at the Jets and now the whole world is in front of him.

"Luckily Matt came from an Ipswich family who wanted him to go down the Jets pathway and get educated. Not playing in the NYC competition was to his betterment because he has now been playing with men since he was 18."

Parcell will be following in the footsteps of Jets coach Ben Walker, who played stand-in for Leeds before returning home to Australia.

The QT understands that Walker played a role in negotiating the contract with Leeds for his former charge.

With 15 appearances for Manly this season, the former Fassifern Bombers junior will be released from the final two years of his three-year contract with the NSW club.

Joining a host of former NRL players who compete in the Super League competition, Johnson said Parcell would have every opportunity to return to Australia as a true professional of the game.

"You don't usually get players like Matt in their prime coming out of Australia," he said. "

Matty is so professional, I know he will maintain his standards and could easily come back as a 26-year-old with a lot of experience."



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