COMPETITION IN the pivotal roles is a major plus for Leeds Rhinos, rising star Liam Sutcliffe reckons.
Sutcliffe has come off the bench in Rhinos’ last two matches, against Widnes Vikings and Huddersfield Giants, after sitting out the First Utility Super League round one win at Hull KR.
The 20-year-old – voted the Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star after his debut campaign in 2013 – has been preferred in the side to six-time Grand Final winner Rob Burrow and is aiming to keep a spot when Leeds visit Hull on Thursday.
Sutcliffe’s emergence as an established Super League player – with 46 senior appearances under his belt – has given Rhinos competition in the halves and he believes that is good for both individuals and the side as a whole.
“I think it’s only going to be good for the team,” said the Hunslet Warriors product.
“If we’re all pushing for the same shirt it is only going to make us train harder and play better.”
Sutcliffe has the ability to operate at stand-off, which allows captain Kevin Sinfield to move to loose-forward.
But Sutcliffe can play in the second-row or at No 13 and has also acted as an emergency centre for Leeds’ senior team.
That ability to fill different roles gives him extra utility value.
But he confirmed he has yet to decide which is his best playing position.
“Growing up I played at stand-off and a bit of loose-forward,” Sutcliffe said.
“It would probably be one of those positions, but I don’t mind filling in wherever Mac (coach Brian McDermott) puts me.
“I played centre a bit when I was younger, in a few West Yorkshire sides and I filled in a bit there last year as well.
“It’s another string to the bow.”