IT WAS the 27 minutes that will last a lifetime for Matt Parcell.
That is was the final 27 minutes of the Brisbane Broncos’ hard-fought win over the Canberra Raiders in Canberra on Saturday made it even sweeter.
Ipswich product Parcell made his Broncos debut, coming on in the 53rd minute as the Broncos clung to a 16-12 lead with the Raiders on the offensive.
It meant Parcell’s primary job was that of tackling machine, a role he played expertly.
Parcell was immaculate at dummy half as well.
But there were no trademark attacking darts from the Ipswich Jets number nine, in a second half that was about digging deep and grafting out a result.
For Parcell, it was almost as satisfying as if he’d won the game with a scoot from dummy-half.
Because proving he could run from dummy half was never an issue.
Proving he was tough enough to defend in the middle of defence with the likes of Josh Papalii repeatedly trying to run over him was the only question mark.
Now it has been answered.
“Having to defend took it out of our attack,” Parcell said.
“They were dominating a bit at the ruck so there were not that many opportunities.
“But it shows I can defend.”
The fact he was left on until the end, in a match that remained a contest until the final minutes, was a vote of confidence from coach Wayne Bennett.
Canberra could find no way through them with the Broncos prevailing 24-12, thanks mainly to their second half defence.
Now he is genuinely part of the table-topping team’s assault on the NRL title.
“It’s been going really well this year in terms of grinding out games. To help them do it as part of the team is very satisfying,” Parcell said.
Having made a successful debut, Parcell hopes to get the chance to build on what he has started.
“It was good to get one off the list,” he said. “But I want to keep playing at this level.”
Hopefully that means a spot in the Broncos’ team to take on the Sea Eagles at home on Friday.
“I’ll just play it by ear and see what happens,” he said.