Caption: Brad Parker looks for a gap in his NRL debut against the Warriors at nib Stadium, Perth, tonight.
It was a case of the 115kg winger known as ‘The Beast’ up against a 90kg debutant who only ever wanted to play NRL for his childhood team, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
If it was a boxing match, the fight would have been stopped before it even started. Here was Brad Parker, the Manly Christian Brothers junior standing opposite one of the most feared wingers in the game in Manu Vatuvei.
Parker didn’t take a backwards step at any stage. He pulled off a memorable tackle at Perth's nib Stadium to force a mistake from Vatuvei when he looked certain to score at a crucial time late in the game that could have given the Warriors victory.
“I thought Brad came up with a terrific tackle on Vatuvei in the corner. He probably had no right there when you look at the physical mismatch.
“Brad is only a year out of the SG Ball. I am really happy for him and the players looked after him.
“He had a terrific debut.”
Manly half-back Daly Cherry-Evans was full of praise for Parker after witnessing the youngster struggle at the team’s Captain’s Run yesterday.
“The training session he had was nothing short of hilarious. He dropped so many balls it wasn’t funny,’’ Cherry-Evans joked.
“For Brad to come out tonight and put it all behind him against one of the game’s best wingers shows how much talent he has.
“I thought he was fantastic."