JESSIE Joe Parker has been hailed as exceptional after clocking up his 100th Whitehaven appearance.

The 30-year-old Papua New Guinea star couldn’t mark the milestone in Easter Monday’s one-point defeat at Batley with a try, but he still boasts an excellent strike rate for the Recreation Ground club, slightly better than a touchdown every two games.

After reaching his ton at Mount Pleasant, vice-president and former chairman Des Byrne, led the tributes to the quietly spoken, 6ft centre who has made Whitehaven his second home.

“Jessie has been absolutely great for the club both on and off the field since he arrived in west Cumbria back in 2012.

“Although he’s a man of few words he has almost a Pied Piper effect on the kids in the community as far as encouraging them to play rugby league is concerned. He’s done a lot of good work in the local community as he’s not just here to play rugby.

“On the field, of course, he’s been exceptional for us and his try ratio to appearances tells how important he’s been to us as a player,” said Byrne.

Parker first came to the notice of a wider audience in 2009 after several impressive seasons in the PNG domestic league.

He signed for the Cairns-based Queensland Cup side Northern Pride and the same year joined Championship club Featherstone Rovers for his debut in British rugby league.

Although he only played 15 games for Rovers in two years he scored 17 tries before his contract ended.

There was a brief arrangement with Wakefield Trinity but he never actually played for them and in 2012 joined Whitehaven – an arrangement which has suited both parties ever since.

Meanwhile the Whitehaven club is preparing to welcome Eorl Crabtree to the Recreation Ground next month. It’s not a major signing coup, but 33-year-old Huddersfield star Crabtree is the special guest at a vice-president’s night on Friday, April 22.

Des Byrne will conduct a question and answer session with the England international who has played all his club rugby with the Giants. Eorl’s uncle Shirley Crabtree – Big Daddy to wrestling enthusiasts – is sure to get a mention.

“We plan to have another guest on the night and there will be a hot meal for those attending. Tickets cost £15 each and the event is being held in the J. J. McKeown Bar getting underway at 7.30pm,” said Byrne.