LEEDS RHINOS prop Adam Cuthbertson has warned title-chasing Castleford Tigers his side were always confident of an Old Trafford return – and are now ready to finish the job.
The Australian was left helpless as the 2015 Super League champions diced with relegation last year.
However, they have responded strongly to finish second this time around and head into their 10th Grand Final on Saturday.
For all League Leaders Castleford are favourites to win on their maiden appearance in the showpiece, Cuthbertson believes Leeds have been preparing for this moment all year long.
“Personally – and for this team – after the year we had last year all we wanted to do was get back to our winning ways and be competing at the end of it to be Super League winners again” said the 32-year-old.
“We believed that from day dot when we got back into pre-season.
“Everyone getting away at the end of the season and doing their own thing with their families was what we really needed after last year. We came back fresh and when we went on our first camp we nailed it on the head with what we wanted to achieve this year – which was to get back to Old Trafford.”
That alone will not suffice, however, for the ball-handling prop who was shortlisted for Man of Steel in 2015, his first season at Headingley.
“Some fans might think getting there is an achievement, but not myself,” he said.
“I have been with a losing Grand Final side before – for Manly in 2007 against Melbourne – and it does not feel like you have achieved anything.
I have been with a losing Grand Final side before – for Manly in 2007 against Melbourne – and it does not feel like you have achieved anything. I remember that feeling and I don’t want to ever feel it againLeeds Rhinos’ Adam Cuthbertson
“I remember that feeling and I don’t want to ever feel it again – it spurs me on to this day really. The goal is to win this game.
“That is all we are thinking about.”
Meanwhile, Castleford Tigers’ Ben Crooks has completed a £15,000 switch to Leigh Centurions.
The ex-Hull FC centre has been on a season-long loan at Leigh but has now joined them on a permanent two-year deal despite their relegation from Super League.
Crooks, 24, joined hometown Castleford from Parramatta Eels at the end of 2015.
He scored six tries in 28 games for Castleford but moved on when they signed Zak Hardaker from Leeds Rhinos in November.
Super League’s Young Player of the year with Hull in 2013, Crooks is confident of an immediate return to the top-flight.