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Parcell doing it his way on global rugby league journey

It takes all types of meat to make the rugby league stew and Matt Parcell has had a rich and diverse life and thrown plenty of ingredients into the pot.

From Mutdapilly to the Ipswich Jets, Manly Sea Eagles, Brisbane Broncos, Leeds  Rhinos and Hull KR - toss in a Super League premiership with Leeds in 2017 at Old Trafford and a Challenge Cup final at Wembley in 2023.

Parcell has played at the premier sporting grounds in the world, married in Italy and travelled the world playing rugby league and he’s not finished just yet.

On a break before returning to England, Parcell was right at home; back home.

“Home is Mutdapilly still, it’s great to be home,” Parcell said.

“I’ve caught up with some school mates and staying with mum and dad.

“We love living in England and I have experienced so much and met so many good people but coming home is special.

“Just wish I was staying longer to watch some cricket; I went to the Ashes at Leeds and go to Leeds United games all the time.

“We have travelled to some amazing places and rugby league has allowed us to be able to do that.

Parcell (left) with Ipswich teammates after winning the 2015 title.
Parcell (left) with Ipswich teammates after winning the 2015 title.

“Our favourite outside of Italy is Ibiza in Spain. We didn’t go there for a long time because we thought it was a party place, but the other side has great restaurants, food and water.

“We go to that side.”

Parcell has now played 155 Super League games and is closing in on 50 tries, having crossed for 46 so far - one of them the highlight of his career, quickly followed by a clear lowlight.

With three minutes to go in the 2023 Challenge Cup final in front of 59,000 people at Wembley Stadium, Hull KR was down by six against Leigh Leopards when the bomb went up and who should jump on the loose ball to send the game to extra time.

“To play at Wembley was sensational. It wasn’t the result I wanted losing in extra time, but to be at Wembley was unbelievable," Parcell said.

“Just didn’t quite get the result we wanted.”

Parcell made a habit of being at the right place in his time in the Hostplus Cup.

In 76 games for the Jets, he scored 30 tries with 19 coming in the year of the Jets' premiership in 2015.

Parcell would score an amazing nine tries in the Hostplus Cup finals in 2015, including the day he tamed the Tigers with five, and then one against Newcastle in the State Championship to get Ipswich rolling through the Knights.

“I have had great coaches in the Super League that always support the way I like to play but having said that if Ben and Shane Walker had got an NRL job I would have been straight home.

“But no regrets at all, this is the way I wanted to take my career.”

Maybe when it’s all done, he'll have one season back home with the Fassifern Bombers.

“Never say it won’t happen, I’d love to have another run with the Bombers, we will have to see.”

For players like Parcell, you just provide the ingredients and some bench space and let them take the lid off.

He has always done things differently but time and time again, done it well and in his time and space.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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