LEEDS RHINOS’ veteran forward Adam Cuthbertson isn’t yet ready to call time on his playing days, but is already contemplating a move into full-time coaching.
Cuthbertson, who will turn 35 in February, is developing a reputation as an emerging talent on the coaching scene, having led Rhinos’ women to four trophies in just two years.
The Australian-born forward, who has one season left on his Rhinos contract, took charge of Leeds’s women ahead of their inaugural season in 2018.
They went on to win the Challenge Cup and finish top of Women’s Super League before being beaten by Wigan Warriors in the Grand Final.
Leeds slipped to third in the table this year, but retained the Challenge Cup and defeated league leaders Castleford Tigers in the title decider.
Cuthbertson added to his backroom pedigree when he was appointed assistant-coach for England women’s autumn tour to Papua New Guinea and now hopes to continue his involvement at professional level after hanging up his boots.
“I really, really enjoy it – just as much as I do playing,” said Cuthbertson of his off-field role.
But he admitted: “It is a hard one to put into perspective at the minute because I’ve had a lot of success.
“I think coaching’s one of those things – just like playing – where you have to go through a bit of a tough trot to to realise whether you really love it or not.
“But I can honestly say I have really loved coaching the last couple of years and helping develop a group of girls at Leeds Rhinos to have the success they have had.
“It is something I’d definitely like to go forward with in the future at a high level.”
England’s women drew their two-Test series with Papua New Guinea, but being part of the national set up provided Cuthbertson with valuable experience.
He reflected: “I put my hand up for that, which was sort of taking it to a new level and seeing things from a different angle. I found that very interesting. I have got a big interest in it so I could see myself doing a lot more in the future, whether it’s coaching men or women.”
As a player, Cuthbertson was a treble-winner with Rhinos four years ago and a Grand Final champion again in 2017, but admitted Richard Agar’s appointment as Leeds coach was a much-needed breath of fresh air. Agar replaced Dave Furner in May and Cuthbertson said: “It got me excited to play again, because I was struggling at the beginning of the year.
“When things changed a bit and I got back into that role I had played at the club for a few years and had success with, it was very enjoyable and it worked for everyone.”
Of whether he will seek a new contract at the end of 2020, Cuthbertson added: “I don’t know – it all comes down to whether I am enjoying it still and playing good rugby. I don’t ever want to go on too long and be playing poorly and fizzle out. As long as I am playing good and I am enjoying it – those are the main things – I’ll go from there. I have to think about my body as well, but so far, so good.”