Leeds Rhinos v Salford: Cuthbertson flourishing in Super League environment

LEEDS RHINOS’ record-breaking offload expert Adam Cuthbertson believes his eye-catching attacking game would never have been allowed to flourish in Australia as it has in First Utility Super League.

Leeds Rhinos' Adam Cuthbertson.
 (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Leeds Rhinos' Adam Cuthbertson. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

The prop, in his first season at Headingley having moved from Newcastle Knights, has earned praise galore for his inventive displays with the high-fliers.

Cuthbertson produced 10 offloads alone in last week’s 
26-24 defeat at Wigan, a tally which took him to 97 for the Super League season and surpassed the previous best of 90 set by Castleford Tigers’ Andy Lynch as long ago as 2003.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington subsequently labelled the 30-year-old – who did not earn either State of Origin or Test honours back home – as one of the world’s finest players.

Hetherington argues Super League, opposed to the more defence-orientated NRL, has allowed the skilful front-row to reach his full potential.

“Super League and the NRL are different styles of play,” admitted Cuthbertson, ahead of tonight’s game with visiting Salford Red Devils. “But it is more down to people backing me a bit more; Brian (McDermott), the coaching staff and the senior players like JP (Jamie Peacock), Danny (McGuire) and Kev (Sinfield).

“They back me and it makes my life a lot easier. It takes the pressure off me.

“I can go out and play what I see and I know they have got my back and they know I’ve got theirs.

“The boys are really getting behind me and they are looking for it (an offload), they are almost telling me they are coming and that is good for my game.

“In the NRL by now I would probably have been told to tuck it under my wing.

“When I was in the NRL I did the job I had to do and now I have come over here, I am doing the job I have to do. It is just different styles.

“I didn’t even know there was a stat (for the record). I don’t think about it. It is not really something I have tried to do a lot of.

“I am not chasing records, I am just playing footy and playing what I see.”

There are growing calls for Cuthbertson to be included for England against the Kiwis this autumn given he qualifies due to his Manchester-born father.

However, Salford is uppermost in his mind as Leeds, seeking to recover from that loss at Wigan and take a step closer to securing top spot, play their penultimate round of the regular season.

“It is a big game,” Cuthbertson said. “But it has been that way for a few weeks now.

“It is a big game for us because we want to keep our form up leading into the Super-8s plus we have got a Challenge Cup semi-final coming up and we want to be playing well going into that.

“It is big for them because they are fighting to get into the top-eight.

“I think the next few weeks, going into the 8s, will be like semi-final footy every week.

“That is what the new competition has created and it is great.”