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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Whitehaven's PNG star Jessie Joe Parker will fly straight in to training

Jessie Joe Parker will dive straight in to training with his Whitehaven team-mates on Tuesday night after jetting in to the UK earlier in the day.

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Two-year contract: Jessie Joe Parker in action

Parker’s 2013 season was prolonged by the World Cup, in which he proved one of Papua New Guinea’s top performers, and Haven are keen to assess his fitness ahead of their Championship opener at Keighley five days later.

Coach Dave Woods will make no decision over his participation at Cougar Park until assessing him next week.

“He’s usually naturally fit, so we will see what he’s like when he gets here,” Woods said.

Haven had hoped Parker would fly to the UK with Larsen Marabe, but the new recruit’s visa application was sorted out earlier and he debuted against Gateshead at the weekend.

Chief executive Barry Richardson said: “Jessie was outstanding last season and is an important member of our squad.

“If he had not been coming, it would have been a hard spot to fill, so we are absolutely delighted that it has come to fruition.

“It took some time to get there as Jessie had his personal commitments and had to go through the visa process. But as soon as we received confirmation that he was allowed to come, the flight was booked.”

Woods was happy with Marabe’s debut off the bench against Thunder in unfamiliar heavy conditions.

“I thought he looked good. He’d only had one training session with the boys and is not used to anything like this in PNG,” the coach added.

“He had some good touches and some good shoulder contacts, and his fitness isn’t too bad. He will be a lot better on the firmer ground as well.”

Haven’s season launch night on Saturday has sold out as has their player sponsorship for 2014.

The squad will be presented with their shirts for the new campaign at the launch, and the night will include interviews with the playing and coaching staff.

“It will be a real feel-good night for people,” Richardson said. “Everything is looking positive.”

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