Purcell to follow in the shadow of 'G.I'
NEW Jets recruit Michael Purcell has plenty of people talking after a stellar first outing for the Ipswich premiers.
In round one of the Intrust Super Cup, Purcell scored a try against Norths Devils in his first appearance for the Jets.
The 22-year-old has a history of hitting the ground running. Last year he scored four tries in his first game in the Toowoomba Rugby League competition with the Wattles Warriors against Brothers Toowoomba.
He would later repeat that effort against Brothers, bagging another four tries in their second encounter, to leave the Toowoomba defence clutching at air.
The lanky winger from Charleville has impressed Jets co-coach Shane Walker, who likened Purcell to one of rugby league's biggest names, Greg Inglis.
"I saw a photo of G.I. as a 16-year-old and I saw some real similarities," Walker said.
"Their bodies as early players are similarly built as well as the way they move and get around the park.
"He (Purcell) presents and injects himself into games really well."
Purcell told the QT that Inglis was one of his biggest role models growing up.
"I definitely felt like I followed a couple of the greats, like Johnathan Thurston and over the last few years since Greg Inglis started at Norths, I definitely started following him," Purcell said.
"He's been my biggest role model and aspiration."
The former Mitchell Magpie did not want to compare his own ability to one of the games brightest stars but was inspired by the Golden Boot Award winner.
"I wouldn't compare my football game to his," he said.
"He's a lot better than me.
"I can only look up to him and hopefully be where he is one day."
Co-coach Shane Walker said the young speedster had been on the Jets' radar for some time.
"We had been hearing a lot about it hum for a number of years," Walker said.
"We talked to some of the Toowoomba boys and they wrapped him.
"What is most impressive is the way he carries himself. He wasn't overawed (in his first game) and he doesn't get too far ahead of himself."
After a half season in Toowoomba last year, Purcell said the decision to join the Jets had been the right move.
"It was definitely a good move for me, I should have come down here a lot earlier," he said.
"But I'm here now and that's all that matters.
"Maturity wise (the time is right) and I even had mum and dad move down here as well, so I get a lot of support from them."
Purcell said he fell in love with rugby league the moment he first ran onto a football field as a young boy.
"As a kid I was always running sideways and around the sides of teams," he said.
"To come down here it brings back a lot of those memories. It really suits my game."
Greeted by his new Ipswich fans on Saturday, Purcell said he relished playing in front of such a passionate crowd.
"I had a lot of fun and everything went well," he said.
"Even when we weren't scoring and just tackling everyone was always behind you, it was a good feeling."
On Saturday the game was still in the balance at 26-24 when Purcell crossed for the Jets in the 75th minute of play.
Purcell said he hadn't been thinking of scoring a try until he was already over the line.
"It was unbelievable, I couldn't have asked for more," he said.
"I just went in there to try my hardest and to come away with the try was amazing."
While Purcell has a long way to go before he lines up against the likes of Greg Inglis, Purcell said he was already playing with another inspiration in Marmin Barba.
"Watching him last year, I was only sitting at home on the couch watching him play, wishing I could play football with Marmin," he said.
"To come down here and play with him is like a dream come true.
"Everyone here (at the Jets) is inspiring and I've made some great mates already."
Purcell will play from the bench in Sunday's grand final rematch against the Townsville Blackhawks at North Ipswich Reserve.