IF his performances so far are just “slowly working into the groove” it will be fascinating to see Leeds Rhinos’ Adam Cuthbertson when he is fully immersed in the Super League routine.
Looking at the statistics alone, the Australian prop has already quickly found his feet following his winter move from the NRL’s Newcastle Knights.
Cuthbertson is the early leader in the competition’s offload table with 23 compared to his nearest rival, Castleford Tigers’ Junior Moors, who has managed just 15.
This attribute in his game has brought plenty of attacking potential for Leeds, but the 30-year-old is not afraid of the less flamboyant side, too, given his 100 carries are bettered by no one after the opening five rounds.
Furthermore, Cuthbertson’s defensive workload cannot be faulted with 196 tackles the fifth best throughout Super League so far.
So much for the old problem of overseas recruits taking their time to settle.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post ahead of tonight’s contest with Wigan Warriors, he said: “It has been a pretty good start for myself. I can’t say I’m fully happy with it, but slowly and surely I’m working into the groove and getting to know the team a lot better.
“We’ve got some sensational backs and halves and, so, if you can get a bit of second-phase happening with the off-loads, it means they get a bit more space to move the ball around.
“I’m not consciously doing it; I’m just playing footy.”
Cuthbertson’s arrival on a four-year deal was ostensibly a long-term venture by the club given the expected retirement of veteran front-rows Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai at the end of this season, but he is certainly having an instant impact, too.
It is no surprise Peacock, a former England captain, has championed him for a potential call-up to Steve McNamara’s national side given the father of the former Manly Sea Eagles star was born in Manchester.
“I’d love to do that,” admitted Cuthbertson, ahead of going up against Wigan’s England prop Lee Mossop this evening.
“I’m very passionate about it and am working hard to do so. I’m not expecting anything and am just going out each week to work my tail off and if I get noticed or get a call then so be it.
“Otherwise I’ll just do what I can do, but right now I’m just worrying about getting my performance right for this Leeds team.”
They are seeking an immediate response this evening after coming unstuck for the first time a week ago, losing for the first time this year when falling 18-6 at Warrington.
However, on the plus side, Sydney-born Cuthbertson did finally get to meet some of his English family, explaining: “My dad was born in Manchester, but the family live in Warrington.
“They were all out there last weekend. It was funny as I’d messaged them through the week to see if they wanted tickets. I flicked them a message but they said, ‘No thanks – we’re in with the Warrington fans’. It was good to see them after, though, and meet them all for the first time, all my cousins too, even if they do have one up over me already.
“I could see we all had very similar traits. Now I just need to turn them into Rhinos supporters.”
Wigan are out of sorts this term, last week’s scratchy 13-12 win over Hull FC only their second in six games this season, including a World Club Series defeat to Brisbane Broncos. Cuthbertson said: “Every week every team is different for me. It’s all new experiences.
“But so far I’ve seen most sides might play one week and come out and then lift against us so we’ll have to be on our guard.
“Wigan are a great team given they were in the Grand Final last year and won it the season before.
“But we created plenty at Wolves. It was just a little bit of hesitation on the last pass. We’d plenty of points on the table but just couldn’t convert. That hurts the most. But sometimes, though it’s never good to lose, it is good to have a kick up the backside.
“After four wins in a row, maybe that defeat will make us go back to the drawing board and work that little bit harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”