Parker making most of his RLWC chance
A single moment in Australia’s demolition of the United States summed up the confidence and comfort with which Corey Parker has embraced his World Cup opportunity.
Only a player at the peak of his powers and at home in his surroundings would have even dared attempt such a bold, no-look, backhanded flick pass – let alone pull it off.
The veteran backrower’s miracle ball, which set up Jarryd Hayne’s fourth and final try, was one of the highlights in Saturday’s 62-0 quarter-final win at Wrexham.
It was also indicative of how 31-year-old Parker is making the most of his first World Cup and his chance to build on his previous sole appearance for the Kangaroos in 2011.
“There’s a lot of things you do at training that you just don’t think in a game are going to happen and looking back on it, it (the pass) just unfolded that way,” Parker told AAP.
“The group that we’ve got here is a very tight-knit group.
“We have a lot of fun, but on the field we put in for each other and I felt comfortable enough to do it and I felt comfortable that Hayney was going to be there.
“I guess at 56-0 up, you can probably afford to throw one of those, but it’s certainly something I’ll keep on my highlight reel.”
Parker’s only previous appearance for Australia came against Wales as part of the 2011 Four Nations but his remarkable consistency at NRL and State of Origin level earned him a deserved call-up to Sheens’ World Cup squad.
After being handed a spot on the bench in the tournament opener against England, Parker’s continued strong performances look to have secured his place in Sheens’ first-choice team and he will likely line up again in Saturday’s semi-final against Fiji at Wembley.
“When you get an opportunity to play for Australia, regardless of where it is, you try and put your best foot forward and that’s been my approach from day one,” Parker said.
“It’s been great and now there’s a semi-final at Wembley – it’s an amazing stadium and I’d love to be there.”
An injury to Billy Slater has left Sheens with several selection headaches ahead of Saturday’s match, with Michael Jennings, Josh Morris and Brent Tate all in the frame for a recall.
Slater was with his teammates in London on Monday and continuing treatment after a suffering a recurrence of a left knee injury, but he’s next to no chance of facing Fiji.
But the Melbourne Storm star and Sheens still hold hope he could return for the final, depending on how he recovers in the next few days.