MATT Parcell is an exception to the rule that says most players would rather start the game on the field than from the bench.
When Parcell first joined the Jets senior ranks, he was behind experienced hooker Michael Fisher in the pecking order.
This season he has been coming off the bench with Troy O’Sullivan the starting rake.
Last weekend, in the Jets’ inspiring come-from-behind win over Northern Pride, O’Sullivan was unavailable due to injury. Yet Parcell still came off the bench, with Kali Nauqe starting the game.
But it does not mean Parcell is being overlooked for others.
He still plays most of the game at dummy half.
It’s just that coaches Ben and Shane Walker prefer to have someone else soak up the first 15 minutes, enabling Parcell to take advantage of tired opponents once they’ve lost their initial sting.
“It doesn’t worry me too much,” Parcell said.
“It’s more the game plan and how they want me to play.
“It’s best for the team. I play the rest of the game after I come on so I still get 60-65 minutes.”
The way the Jets use their hookers is just one of the innovations they employ to give them an advantage over opponents.
Much of it is designed to exploit the rules that have been implemented to clean and speed up the play-the-ball.
It suits Parcell and the Jets down to the ground.
“I’m having a lot of fun playing this year,” he said.
“It takes the wrestle out with the third man not allowed to come in.”
The other tactic that is running opponents ragged is the Jets’ licence to play what is in front of them.
It also suits Parcell, who is not the type to pass up an opportunity.
“We get to play what we see,” he said. “If a coach said to me ‘stick to this’, I’m not going to do it if I see something is on.
“We just go out and play footy.
“A lot of teams can’t nail us down or find out what we’re going to do because we don’t know.
“Being a smaller team, we need to have that advantage.”
Parcell believes his game has come on greatly in the past year, after enduring a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder throughout 2013.
“This year I feel a lot faster and fitter,” the 21-year-old said. “Strength wise, as last year progressed, not being able to do weights I felt I was getting weaker.”
At 85kg, Parcell is the weight he thinks he needs to be to carry out the Jets’ high-tempo game plan.
Tomorrow (2pm): Ipswich Jets v Redcliffe Dolphins at Dolphin Oval (live on Channel 9). Head to head: Redcliffe 25 Ipswich 12. Referee: Michael Gordon.
Game analysis: With key forwards Jon Green, Jake Marketo and James Ackerman unavailable due to injury, Redcliffe will field another youthful team this weekend. The Dolphins were kept quiet by the Mackay Cutters last Saturday. Troy Lindsay’s Redcliffe team produced their best performance of the season in their past Dolphin Oval appearance, a 34-6 thumping of Souths Logan. Young gun Tyson Cleal and David Hala will power the Dolphins’ front row, with Martin Cordwell dropping back to the bench. Ipswich has named hooker Troy O’Sullivan to return from injury after missing last week’s stunning comeback win against the Northern Pride. Ipswich centre Brendon Marshall crossed for two tries in his 136th match, passing Brendon Lindsay as the club’s second most capped player behind Danny Coburn (258). Coburn feature – page 59.