LEEDS RHINOS forward Adam Cuthbertson has been described as “one of the best players in the world” by club chief executive Gary Hetherington.
The off-season signing from Newcastle Knights has set a new Super League record with 97 offloads already this season, including 10 in last week’s defeat at Wigan Warriors.
And Hetherington has hailed him as a player who is now fulfilling his full potential because of his move to the English competition. “It is not just his offloading,” Hetherington said.
“When he gets the ball at first receiver, people don’t know what he’s going to do. If he decides to go on a charge, he takes some holding.
“But his quality distribution – some of the balls he is giving – is top class. An example was the try he put Brad Singleton in for at Wigan.
“In many ways he is a half-back playing in a prop-forward’s body.”
Hetherington revealed Rhinos had made an attempt to sign Cuthbertson five years ago.
“We spotted his ability then,” he said. “In those five years he has been a good, solid NRL player, but coming to Leeds and playing in Super League, his game has come in in leaps and bounds and he is now one of the world’s best players.
“He is an outstanding player and his performance has a bearing on every game he plays. That is the hallmark of a top player.
“I think credit should go to Adam
himself and also our coach Brian McDermott, for encouraging that style – and the rest of the Rhinos for running off him.”
Hetherington added: “For natural ability, he takes some beating.
“He is an example of how a player can come from the NRL and flourish in Super League, where I think our coaches are more adventurous in encouraging players to play to their abilities.”
Super League’s previous record for offloads was 90 by Andy Lynch, of Castleford Tigers, in 27 appearances during 2003.
Meanwhile Leigh will clinch the league leaders’ shield if they win Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship round 22 clash with second-placed Bradford at the Provident Stadium.
The RFL confirmed yesterday that the prize for finishing top of the Championship will be awarded after 23 rounds.
But current Super League leaders Leeds will have to be top at the end of the Super 8s to claim the league leaders’ shield.
The destination of the top flight’s crown will not be determined until after 30 matches in order to include the seven fixtures in the Super 8s.
The fixtures for the Super 8s, which get under way on Thursday, August 6, will be revealed on Wednesday, July 29.
Castleford winger Justin Carney and Warrington full-back Matty Russell have been issued with formal cautions for foul play.
Carney was warned for striking debutant Brad Fash during his side’s 21-18 defeat at Hull on Sunday while Russell was cautioned after making dangerous contact on Wakefield prop Nick Scruton during his side’s 40-20 win over the Wildcats.