Panther Hunt

Buchan, David Nielson & the QT)

MATT Parcell is used to and very good at tackling blokes much bigger than himself.

On Friday when the Ipswich Jets meet the Penrith Panthers at the North Ipswich Reserve, he gets his chance against not just bigger forwards, but older ones with first grade NRL experience behind them.

Yet there are none who know the 19-year-old utility forward who doubt his ability to handle it.

That includes Parcell himself.

“I’m pretty excited,” the third year engineering student said.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun.

“I’ve put in a lot of effort so it is going to be rewarding.”

There are many 19-year-olds who would view having to tackle NRL forwards all night as terrifying.

Not Parcell.

“I don’t look at it like that,” he said.

“I’m just excited to play against the bigger guys.

“It’s a big test but I like it like that.

“I was a lot littler coming though as a kid so I was always used to playing bigger guys.”

After coming into the Jets Colts team in 2010 with huge wraps on him, Parcell’s 2011 didn’t go to plan.

“Last year I got hurt (fractured heel),” he said.

“This year I want to play a full season and do as well as I can.

“Hopefully in the (Queensland) Cup. If not, then in the under-20s.”

Parcell’s pre-season with the Jets has given him the belief he can reach those goals.

The lock or hooker has grown from 76kg to 84kg in the past 12 months and his confidence has grown with his weight.

“I’ve had a really good pre-season compared to last year,” he said.

“I’ve put on more size and am fitter.

“Last year I wasn’t really ready and didn’t know what to expect.

“I knew what to expect heading into this year and how to prepare.”

It has shown with the Mutdapilly product and former Norths and Fassifern junior impressing Jets coaches.

“I’ve learnt about preparation and attitude,” he said of his time with the Jets.

“You’ve really got to work for what you want.

“When I was out for 10 weeks, seeing all the guys and what they put in was a real eye-opener.”

Parcell has been training at hooker and expects that is where he will be given game time on Friday.

“It doesn’t worry me,” he said.

“Hooker or lock.

“You get to do a lot of defence and get your hands on the ball a lot.”

Jets co-coach Shane Walker certainly hasn’t discounted Parcell playing in the top grade this season.

“He’s one of those blokes with football in the blood,” Walker said.

“You’re not having to teach them everything because they’ve got their own sort of craft.”

Parcell is the grandson of former Kangaroo front rower Gary Parcell and son of former Jets captain Steve Parcell.