Confident Leeds Rhinos boosted by return of key players to face Super League leaders Catalans Dragons

LEEDS RHINOS’ Liam Sutcliffe knows defeating Super League leaders Catalans Dragons tomorrow will be a “tough ask” but, on the back of Monday’s remarkable win at Warrington Wolves, confidence is understandably high.

That was a fourth successive victory and a third win in just nine days.

The arduous scheduling continues for Rhinos but they welcome back captain Luke Gale, loose forward Cameron Smith and prop King Vuniyayawa into their 21-man squad, while Richie Myler could also return to freshen up Richard Agar’s side who see Jack Broadbent (ankle) drop out.

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Sutcliffe, who starred at full-back against Warrington, said: “Catalans are really good.

“They have been killing it at the moment. They have some big boys in the middle and some good outside backs. It will be a tough ask – we know that – but hopefully we can back it up again.”

Leeds’s spirit was immense against Wolves as they won 22-16 despite defending for most of the second period and being down to 11 men at the end.

Leading 22-6, Sutcliffe was yellow-carded for a high tackle in the 70th minute before Rob Lui was sin-binned five minutes later as exhausted Rhinos held off a fightback from hosts who had won their last six league games.

He added; “It was a good result to go there and turn them over like that.

Leeds Rhinos’ Liam Sutcliffe. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Leeds Rhinos’ Liam Sutcliffe. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

“It felt really good; Warrington had been in great form.

“I’ve probably not been in too many defensive performances quite like that to be honest.

“The boys were digging deep. It was a bit scratchy second half but we dug deep to get the win.

“When I went off I still thought we’d be sweet but when Rob (Lui) got carded as well I was thinking ‘Oh, no, I hope this doesn’t happen!’

Leeds Rhinos' players celebrate the their epic win at Warrington on Monday. Picture: Simon Hulme.

“But credit to everyone in that last 10 minutes, everyone putting their bodies on the line to get the win. I was due to come back on for four seconds but they (Wolves) knocked on with maybe seven seconds to go so I got away with it! We came out alright.”

Sutcliffe, who has switched from centre to full-back in the last two games due to Leeds’s injury issues, was instrumental in setting up a 20-6 interval lead.

Time after time he helped unpick Warrington with his astute handling and kicking.

The 26-year-old said: “I do enjoy playing full-back. I’ve not played there for a few years barring last week (against Leigh Centurions) so some stuff was a bit off. But I do enjoy coming in on the back and linking in the line. We’ve had a couple of rest days now and we’ll have a training session before we go again.”

BACK IN THE GAME: Leeds Rhinos' Luke Gale. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

And another win would be the perfect way to further honour Sutcliffe’s former team-mate Rob Burrow.

Rhinos yesterday hailed ‘Rob Burrow Day’ as it celebrated not only the remarkable achievements of the club legend on the pitch but, more importantly, his inspirational efforts to raise funds and awareness for motor neurone disease.