Marcelle Parkes is making history on a number of fronts after being named one of 28 players to receive the first ever Black Ferns contracts yesterday (for 15-a-side rugby).
Not only is she in this trailblazing group for the national game, it gives her the opportunity to become the first Marist St Pats player to play for the Black Ferns.
The announcement caps off a stellar rise for Marcelle who is only this year playing her first full season of 15s, after playing Sevens rugby for Marist St Pats since 2016.
Already an accomplished netball and softball player, we caught up with Marcelle following the Black Ferns announcement.
MSP: How did you get into rugby?
Marcelle: 'Funny story really. This is actually my first year playing proper rugby as I played netball all my life until this year. I remember all throughout college I would say “there’s no way I'm playing rugby, ever” but things changed!
You could say I first got into rugby when I moved to Wellington East Girls College in year 12 and one of my best mates Georgia Broughton, who's also in the Women's MSP team told me to come along and try out rugby sevens and her dad Norm was our coach.
For me, I played sevens in the summer to kept me busy I guess especially when it was off season for netball. From then on I played sevens every summer and eventually starting playing club sevens for Marist St Pats in Year 13 and have been now for the past 2-3 years.
I decided to play 15’s this year to better my sevens game because I got given the opportunity to be apart of the NZ Development Sevens team. Things have now changed I guess as it opened up a new opportunity for me in 15’s and it’s a privilege to be apart of it.'
MSP: What have you learned from your time around that National environment?
Marcelle: 'Being in a national environment for any sport is a huge learning experience no matter what level you are at. I had been a part of the national environment for both netball and softball already but when I was given the opportunity to go to the Black Ferns camp a couple months ago I found it was a whole new level and experience in that kind of environment.
Being new to rugby and being around players who have played all around the world for how many years was just so surreal and seeing how competitive each individual was, it was intense.
You learn that everyone is there for the same reason and wants it just as bad as you and pretty much “if you snooze you lose” you need to give it 100% every time. Being in that kind of environment gives you a taste of what they're about and exactly what they're looking for. You gain so much learning from being in those types of environments which you can take on and off the field.'
MSP: Any advice for your Marist St Pats teammates?
Marcelle: 'If I was to give advice to my team mates I would say that anything is possible. It’s still a shock to me that in my first year in trying out 15’s I have been given this amazing opportunity to represent my country and would tell them that if they really wanted it as well then the hard work needs to start now.
I always have believed in the quote “hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard” and honestly I would tell them if they really wanted it go for it.
You have to really want it and you have to really commit your time to things especially things that you may not like but you eventually learn to love them as you know they will benefit you in the end.
We have such a young, strong and talented Marist St Pats Women's team and it would be amazing to see more women from our club make it to that level!'