Leeds Rhinos: Big boots to fill for new Aussie ace Adam – Danny McGuire

Adam Cuthbertson.

Adam Cuthbertson.

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Leeds Rhinos ace Danny McGuire brings you the view from the dressing room

I HAD heard that we were being linked with Adam Cuthbertson, the Newcastle Knights player, but I found out at the same time as everybody else, when the club announced it on Monday, that he has actually signed.

To be honest, he is not a player I know a lot about, but what I have heard is all positive.

He has been getting good reviews this season for his performances in the NRL and he has definitely got a wealth of experience.

He has played at three top clubs over there, under some very good coaches including one of the best-ever in Wayne Bennett, so I think he will be good for us.

I don’t see a lot of the NRL, but from what I have heard, he is a ball-playing prop and I think he will suit our style of play.

He likes to offload and will probably have a bit more freedom to do that here than in the NRL, where there’s so much emphasis on defence.

I would imagine Adam is being lined up as a long-term replacement for JP and Kylie, who are likely to retire at the same time at the end of next season.

I don’t actually think you can replace either of those, they are that good and so instrumental in what we do, but the club obviously need to think about who is going to take over the mantle in a couple of years’ time.

Our outside-backs are sorted for the next few seasons, but in terms of the forwards the club is heading for a bit of a transitional period and I think Adam Cuthbertson will probably be a big part of that.

He will be coming in as an experienced player who can help bring on the next generation, the likes of Brad Singleton and Jordan Baldwinson.

There’s also Andy Yates to throw into the mix.

He’s had a tough time after getting injured in pre-season, but he’s back in full training now and I would imagine the plan is for him to have a few games with Hunslet and hopefully be pushing for a place in our 17 later in the season. It probably hasn’t felt like it to him, but I think the extra-long pre-season has probably helped Andy.

He will admit he is a lot fitter now than when he joined us and he has got back into the swing of being part of a full-time squad, after being out of it for a while.

We are going to miss JP and Kylie, but with Adam in the team – with a year’s Super League experience under his belt – and those promising young players coming through, hopefully we won’t feel it too much. Ian Kirke and Ryan Bailey will still be at the club next year, but I don’t know what Kylie will decide to do.

Hopefully he will opt to play on for at least another season, because he has been playing really well this year.

He does the tough stuff for us and makes his tackles and I would rate him as one of the best overseas signings the club has ever made. He has been a massive part of our team since 2007, both on and off the field, he has been playing regularly this year and has been injury-free and he is still contributing fully to the cause.

It has to be his decision, but you are a long time retired and I still think he is capable of performing at the top level, so I hope he carries on.

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I THINK everybody in the game is getting a bit fed up and frustrated with the number of decisions being passed on to the video referee and the amount of tries being disallowed for obstruction.

I know they have a tough job to do and there are so many things for them to watch out for but when you get as many referrals as there were in the game between Salford and Wigan last week, it becomes hard to watch.

Constantly going to the video ref slows the action down and after a while it becomes boring. It’s also frustrating when what looks like a good try gets ruled out.

Perhaps they are correct decisions to the letter of the law, but the sort of obstructions that tries are being disallowed for probably wouldn’t be penalised if they happened on the half-way line and my feeling is that unless it’s deliberate or blatant, it’s better to give the advantage to the attacking team.

Also, sometimes it is rewarding bad defence. I think you’ll start to see defenders not trying to put themselves in a position to make a tackle, then relying on the video ref to save them by awarding an obstruction.

Sometimes you have to defend two attackers, somebody running at the line and somebody running out the back – and even if contact is made I don’t think that should necessarily be regarded as an obstruction. Sometimes defenders make a wrong decision, that is part of the game. If referees are going to go to the screen less often I think everybody involved in the sport will have to accept that mistakes are sometimes going to happen.

It is no good calling for fewer video ref decisions and then complaining if a try is given that shouldn’t have been, but I would like to see televised games speeded up, with fewer interruptions and I think that would make for better entertainment for the fans and armchair viewers.

When the video ref came in at the start of Super League I think the idea was to use it as a way of checking for knock-ons and serious foul play and eliminating obvious errors.

If a ref isn’t sure if an attacker has got the ball down over the line, of course he should put the square in the air.

But now it seems refs are reluctant to actually make a decision and they are handing over to video officials who are looking for ways to disallow tries.

I don’t think that’s right. Surely the video referee’s job should be to help the man in the middle, not make decisions for him.

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WARRINGTON IS a ground I enjoy playing at, because the atmosphere is always so good.

Their fans are very passionate and really get behind their team and we usually take a good following as well. It has always been a tough place to go and get a result, even before Warrington became one of the top sides in the competition, but we enjoy that sort of challenge.

Coached by Tony Smith, pictured above, they had a slow start to the year, but they seem to be hitting form now after wins over Catalan, St Helens and Wakefield.

They are playing some good stuff, scoring a lot of points and when you look at their teamsheet it is full of quality and experience and they have got some very good kids who are beginning to make a mark. We will need to play better than we have in the last two weeks, but we were happy with the win against Hull last Friday and it was a solid performance in difficult conditions.

We will need to win tonight to hang on to top spot, but that’s something we are proud of and we aren’t going to give it up lightly.

Ryan Hall.

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