Hull KR v Leigh Centurions - Matt Parcell looking forward to facing Nathan Peats

THOUSANDS of miles away from home, two Australian hookers will go head to head tomorrow in East Hull both loving the freedom brought to them by Super League.

Feeling at home: Hull KR's Matt Parcell is loving life at Hull KR and feels sure Leigh's Nathan Peats will soon settle in. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Feeling at home: Hull KR's Matt Parcell is loving life at Hull KR and feels sure Leigh's Nathan Peats will soon settle in. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Admittedly, Nathan Peats, the ex-New South Wales State of Origin rake who now finds himself at Leigh Centurions, might not be enjoying himself as much as his Hull KR counterpart Matt Parcell.

Since arriving in the UK in March, Peats has yet to taste victory for his new club who still remain winless since being promoted from the Championship.

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Nevertheless, Parcell, who made the move over in 2017 when joining a Leeds Rhinos side that would go on and win the Grand Final in his maiden campaign, knows the former South Sydney player will thrive in these parts.

Talent: Leigh's former State of Origin player Nathan Peats is still looking for his first Super League win. Picture by Ed Sykes/

“I think I played against him (Peats) a couple of times back home and he’s come over here with a bit of a point to prove,” he said, the 30-year-old having been released by Gold Coast Titans at the end of last season and left unable to secure an NRL deal.

“He’s only going to get better every week. Over here, the style of footy, as a nine, you get told by the coaches to play a way that opens up the attacking game.

“Hooker is a kind of different position here. There is a lot more attacking focus, I guess. Coaches and teams really rely on you to play footy, attack and work round the ruck.

“Coming over here for him will probably be a bit of an eye-opener and I’d say he’ll really enjoy his footy. It should be a good contest.”

That is true; Parcell has certainly been in fine form for Rovers, his lightening pace out of dummy-half proving one of their main attacking weapons.

They had won three Super League games on the trot before losing at Wakefield Trinity on Sunday.

Like Leigh, Trinity had not tasted victory this term before that game which will serve as another warning to Rovers.

Parcell, 28, said: “We were disappointed with the result.

“Wakefield definitely out-enthused us and being at home in front of their home fans probably played a part.

“But obviously we didn’t play the kind of footy we’ve been playing and showing.

“For us as a group we’ve just got to come out and show that we have progressed a long way. It was a bit of an off-day on Sunday but we’re aiming to go out there and put on a good performance this Sunday.”

The ex-Brisbane Broncos player, who is hoping to agree a new deal for next season, knows it will leave them in good stead for tomorrow.

“If you look at that Wakefield team they were unlucky not to have won a game before coming up against us,” he added.

“They’re a good team and had been in a lot of games but ended up on the wrong side of the result.

“Leigh are the same. In some of their games they’ve shown they are a good team and if we give them a chance they’ll have a crack.

“We’re going to have to play some good footy to beat them.

“They seem to start games really well so it’s going to be a big thing for us to stop that.

“They’ve got a lot of enthusiasm and are not scared to play a bit of footy.

“We’re going to have to be on our game and it’s going to be a good contest.”

It will also be the first time in 441 days that Rovers have played in front of fans at their Hull College Craven Park.

Strangely, despite joining Rovers in June 2019 and for a number of different reasons, Parcell has only played in front of spectators there three times, too.

“It started so well too!” he recalled, his debut being a man-of-the-match display in a derby win over Hull FC.

“I really enjoy playing here at Craven Park.

“It’s a really good place to play footy and obviously with the fans back it’s going to bring excitement to everyone.

“The ground is looking amazing and it’s a fast track which I think really suits us and the style of footy we play.

“We obviously train here all the time so getting to play here is great.

“We’re one of the only teams not to play in front of our home fans yet so everyone is looking forward to it.

“Hopefully they can bring a lot of energy and support to get us over the line.”

Forwards George King and Dean Hadley have been included in their 21-man squad.

Meanwhile, the club has made a formal appeal against the RFL decision to refuse it an elite academy licence for 2022-27.

A statement said they had ‘lodged proceedings with Sports Resolution and expect an outcome by the middle of June.’

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