New Manly hooker Matt Parcell has only recently left Ipswich, but was excited to learn his former club would be visiting Manly for a pre-season trial.
The Intrust Super Cup and State Championship-winning Jets have been pulled apart by NRL recruitment with Parcell just one of six out of Shane and Ben Walker's successful squad to be snapped up by NRL sides for 2016.
While Carlin Anderson has been added to the Brisbane roster the rest have headed south with Parcell at Manly plus two each at the Sharks (Kurt Capewell and Josh Cleeland) and Wests Tigers (Rod Griffin and Billy McConnachie).
Parcell told NRL.com he had no involvement in Manly and Ipswich agreeing to play a trial given he was on holidays in Europe when it happened but was pumped to be facing his former teammates.
“It's very exciting, it might be a new-look team up there with a few of the boys down here. Benny [Walker] called me up straight away and I can't wait," Parcell said.
“I was over in Europe and he just sent me a message to say that we had a trial against Ipswich.
“Pretty much the message just said 'you better start training'! But it will be a good opportunity for those boys to come down, we'll catch up and it will be a good experience.”
Parcell added it was a good reward for Ipswich's players that so many had been picked up by NRL clubs and was glad to have a few extra mates to catch up with in Sydney.
“It's great, a lot of the boys there have a lot of potential and it's great that they've got an opportunity now," he said.
“I'll have a few more friends down here now so we'll be able to have catch-ups. It's just great they get an opportunity and hopefully I get to play against them in the NRL.
“Two from the Tigers and two from the Sharks so it's good they're together there, they'll get through pre-season and hopefully we get to play against each other this year."
Parcell is one of a host of talented players recruited to the northern beaches in Trent Barrett's new-look squad. He is one of two specialist No.9s at the club along with former Panther and Rabbitoh Api Koroisau. While the two may well end up sharing hooking duties the vacant five-eighth role created by Kieran Foran's departure has led to speculation one may be asked to shift to the scrumbase.
Parcell remained hopeful he would get a chance at his preferred hooker role but would play wherever the coach asked.
“Hooker's where I've played the past few years and where I feel most comfortable. The decision is up to Trent, but I prefer hooker and there's a great opportunity down here so hopefully I can take it with both hands,” he said.
He hadn't yet had a chance to sit down with the coaching staff and find out what the expectations were but said his pace and instincts would allow him to play off-the-cuff – as was so successful at Ipswich – or stick to structures as required.
“Hopefully I can continue to use my running game and my speed. I think that's a bit of a point of difference with my game. If we can incorporate that and there'll be some structure there I can play to a structure but then if there's an opportunity there I can take it.”
*This first appeared on NRL.com: Manly recruit pumped for Ipswich reunion
While the Jets will be travelling south for this trial – keep an eye on QRL.com.au in coming weeks for news on 2016 Intrust Super Cup trials being held in Queensland.