Cornwall RLFC have signed Joe Purcell for the upcoming 2022 Betfred League 1 season.
Comfortable playing at either full-back or stand-off, Liverpool-born Purcell becomes the first player to ink terms with the club after taking part in our recent open player trial.
The 22-year-old began his rugby league journey playing for successful junior side Halton Hornets who are based in Widnes – Purcell’s home town.
During his formative years, Purcell spent time in Widnes’ development squad and then gained further experience in a professional environment with five-time Super League champions Wigan Warriors’ under-19 side. Owing to the covid-19 pandemic, Purcell had dropped into the amateur game but after impressing Cornwall RLFC head coach Neil Kelly, on his first visit to the Duchy, he becomes the club’s latest recruit.
“I’m over the moon and I can’t wait for the adventure,” Purcell began. “It is a whole new club, starting from the bottom and I can’t wait to be part of the journey.
“The lifestyle in Cornwall looks amazing. I’m buzzing to be moving down here with my girlfriend and start a new life, get cracked into this rugby and spread the word in Cornwall.
“I saw the trial advertised and I saw it as the perfect opportunity. I travelled down for six hours with my dad for the trial, did the trial and fortunately I was offered a contract.”
Purcell also revealed that he was drawn to the club by head coach Neil Kelly with the Cornwall chief a big pull given his success at Widnes and in both codes of rugby too.
“He’s coached at my home town club Widnes and I have seen him around rugby league too,” Purcell added. “After seeing someone with his kind of experience, it is someone you want to play under, to help progress my skills.”
It’s not only Purcell himself who feels that Kelly can improve him as a player, with this desire also predicted by Cornwall RLFC general manager Gareth Reid.
“We are excited to sign Joe to the club for the upcoming season,” he said. “Joe gave a great account of himself at our open trials displaying a good skill set and command for a young lad.
“With his traditional rugby league background and having come through the Widnes and Wigan development pathways, we look forward to Joe playing an important role in the squad. His signing will also prove valuable for local Cornish players who will have to develop their understanding of the sport quickly, whilst we’re confident Joe can elevate his own game under the tutelage of Ned Kelly.”
Meanwhile, Kelly says that Purcell’s signing shows that Cornwall RLFC’s player trial was a success, while touching on the importance of the player’s ability to play in several positions.
“Joe is a player with rugby league pedigree,” enthused Kelly, the former Super League Coach of the Year. “He really shone through at our player trial with an eagerness to impress and by signing a contract with Cornwall, it shows that our player trial was worthwhile and successful.
“He is moving to Cornwall and from someone like myself who lives in the north, why wouldn’t you because Cornwall is a beautiful place.
“Joe’s commitment is to be applauded and I’m also pleased that we have signed a player who is versatile as every coach loves versatility. Injuries will hit any team at some point during a season, so to have a player that has a good skill set and can play several positions, will give me lots of options.”
[Featured image: Cornwall RLFC]