Ipswich Jets hooker Matt Parcell is looking to deliver the club their maiden Intrust Super Cup title in his last game before linking up with the Manly Sea Eagles.
The Jets face minor premiers Townsville Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon in what shapes as an enthralling grand final battle between two sides with contrasting playing styles.
Townsville will hope the structured and traditional brand of football they’ve executed so astutely throughout their inaugural season holds sway during the decider, while the Jets’ free-flowing and entertaining style will be put to the ultimate test at Suncorp Stadium.
Parcell, who played six NRL games for the Broncos earlier this season, has been one of the cornerstones of the Ipswich charge towards the grand final.
The 22-year-old has eight tries from his past three games, including five against the Easts Tigers in the Week Two elimination final, and hopes to end his five-season stint with the club on the best note possible.
“I’m really looking forward [to Sunday] and this will be my last Intrust Super Cup game for at least three years,” said Parcell.
“I’ve been in some good form so hopefully it can continue and I can get a few more tries and we can celebrate at the end.”
The Jets have built some serious momentum on the back of five straight wins and although quietly confident, the Ipswich-born rake is wary of a talented Blackhawks side that have players such as Robert Lui, Glenn Hall, Anthony Mitchell and former Origin lock Neville Costigan on their books.
“Townsville are a very strong team with a lot of NRL experience,” he said.
“We’re an unpredictable side and hopefully we can continue the form we’ve shown over the last month – if we tried to play structured we’d get dominated so we’ve got to think outside the box a little and it’s been working all year so we’ll continue with it.
“There will be two different styles out there and we’ll have to match theirs and see which one comes out on top.”
While Parcell’s running game and tireless work around dummy-half helped him attracted interest from a number of NRL clubs, the grandson of former Kangaroos prop Gary Parcell has been trying to sharpen his defence during training for both the Jets and Broncos.
“Defensively I feel stronger – I think being able to play full-time I’ve been able to pick up a bit extra speed and strength and hopefully I can continue it next year.”
Parcell’s defensive work has paid dividends in 2015 with the 181-centimetre, 81-kilogram baby-faced rake making 715 tackles for the Jets this season with only 17 misses, while during his six games at NRL level he made 99 tackles with just three missed.
The Fassifern Bombers junior will link up with Trent Barrett’s Sea Eagles on a three-year deal at season’s end and will compete for the No.9 jersey alongside Penrith recruit Apisai Koroisau and Jayden Hodges in the absence of Matt Ballin, who faces an uncertain future after injuring his ACL in August.
Moving interstate wasn’t a decision he took lightly, but with Andrew McCullough and Kodi Nikorima in front of him in Brisbane’s pecking order, flying the coop became easier for Parcell.
“It was a tough decision but also an easy one because there was that opportunity which wasn’t at the Broncos,” he said.
“I’ve had a couple of conversations [with Barrett] and we’ll talk more when pre-season starts but they’ve said there’s an opportunity and if I train hard I’ll get my shot.
“I know it will be tough – I’ve got Api [Koroisau] who will be down there so it will be a tough pre-season and I’m going to have to work hard.”