New Hull KR deal should allow Matt Parcell to deliver his best form

AUSTRALIAN hooker Matt Parcell believes he can get back to playing his best rugby league after signing a new deal at Hull KR.

STICKING AROUND: Hull KR's Matt Parcell is tackled by Leeds's James Donaldson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
STICKING AROUND: Hull KR's Matt Parcell is tackled by Leeds's James Donaldson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Parcell, 27, returns to the side against Huddersfield Giants tomorrow after being rested for last Thursday’s loss against Leeds Rhinos.

He has agreed a one-year extension with the option of staying on again in 2022 as well.

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A Grand Final winner with Leeds in 2017, the livewire rake made an immediate impact after initially joining Tony Smith’s side on loan last June.

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith.

He has overcome a couple of serious injuries since and Parcell said: “It’s been an interesting year. Everyone’s had to roll with the punches, but it’s been good to get the deal over the line.

“Tony (Smith) is very, very good at bringing out the best in players and making them feel confident on the field.

“He makes them play to the best of their ability and it’s fantastic to see. Over the coming months everyone is going to get a lot more game-time and the experience that they are going to get will be really valuable.

“It’s been really enjoyable at KR. To start with I had a few good games then got a couple of serious injuries, but I feel really good now. I’m in a really good head space and I feel like I can get back to playing my best footy at Rovers and under Tony.”

Greg Minikin, Weller Hauraki, Kane Linnett and George Lawler also return against Huddersfield along with Ben Crooks, who is back from a five-week lay-off, and Jordan Abdull, who has completed a two-game ban.

Jez Litten – who has been sharing hooking duties with Parcell – Harvey Livett, Mitch Garbutt, Joe Keyes and Jimmy Keinhorst drop out as Rovers try to win for the first time in four games.

England Knights prop Matty English and fellow forward Sam Hewitt are back for Huddersfield but Lee Gaskell – expected to return from a broken wrist – is not included and winger Darnell McIntosh drops out injured.

The Coral Challenge Cup final at Wembley on October 17 will be played behind closed doors for the first time in history – while the RFL also says it is “almost certain” the format of next year’s competition will have to change.

The governing body had originally hoped to see some fans at the 119th final but last week’s news about the Government’s latest restrictions on public gatherings meant this was inevitable.

It will be another significant blow to the RFL’s hopes of making some money this year having already seen England’s three-Test home series with Australia cancelled due to Covid-19.

They have confirmed a date for next year’s final with the Wembley showpiece set for Saturday, July 17.

But RFL chief commercial officer Mark Foster said: “Given the impact of the latest announcements from Government regarding social distancing on both the professional and community game, it is almost certain there will be implications for the structure of next year’s Challenge Cup.”

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Thank you, James Mitchinson. Editor.