Shooting Star Liam Sutcliffe was today set to join Bradford Bulls on a month’s loan from Leeds Rhinos.
SHOOTING STAR Liam Sutcliffe was today set to join Bradford Bulls on a month’s loan from Leeds Rhinos.
And Rhinos are in discussions with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats over a possible loan switch for winger/full-back Ben Jones-Bishop.
Sutcliffe made 18 senior appearances for Rhinos last term and was named the club’s most outstanding young player in a poll of Yorkshire Evening Post readers.
The 19-year-old has played in just one of Leeds’ three fixtures so far this year and will gain valuable game time at Bradford while filling in at stand-off for knee injury victim Lee Gaskell.
Meanwhile, two-time Grand Final winner Jones-Bishop has yet to make a First Utility Super League appearance for Rhinos this season following the arrival from Hull of England winger Tom Briscoe.
Jones-Bishop came off the bench to score a hat-trick of tries against London Broncos in Ryan Bailey’s testimonial game at the end of January, but Briscoe was preferred for the start of Leeds’ Super League campaign and is currently the competition’s leading try scorer with five in three matches.
Wildcats are struggling for options in the outside-backs and are keen to sign Jones-Bishop on an initial one-month loan.
“Bish needs to play,” Rhinos boss Brian McDermott stated.
“That would be the centre point of any discussion or dialogue that goes on.
“We will roll the squad about this year in the outside-backs, as we’ve said several times, but at the same time we are not going to just do it ad-hoc.
“There’s got to be reasons for doing it and it has got to be a, to give Bish game time and b, does anybody need a rest?
“The other option is with Wakefield, where he would be guaranteed to play. They are the things we have got to consider and we are having dialogue with Wakefield and Bish at the moment regarding that.”
If Wildcats do sign Jones-Bishop – who is out of contract this autumn and is a target for big-spending Salford Red Devils – on loan, Leeds will be unable to recall him for the first month.
“That’s an anomaly with loan deals,” McDermott said. “We’d wear that and that would be the idea anyway, that he would get a fair few games under his belt.”
Rhinos backs Luke Briscoe – brother of Tom – and Jimmy Keinhorst are already on loan at Wakefield, whose squad also includes ex-Leeds players Richard Mathers, Peter Fox, Paul McShane, Ali Lauitiiti, Richard Moore, Daniel Smith and new signing Nick Scruton.
McDermott said Rhinos came through last Friday’s 40-12 win at Catalan Dragons unscathed.
“Everybody’s pulled through, though we have got a group of tired fellas after all the travel,” McDermott said.
“Kev [Sinfield, who had been a doubt for the game due to an ankle injury] pulled through reasonably well.
“Danny Mags [McGuire] has got a bit of a bump that he sustained in the game, but there’s no long-term problems.”
Two forwards are back in contention for Friday’s trip to Huddersfield Giants, McDermott confirmed.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan has not played this year due to knee and calf problems and Mitch Achurch has been sidelined since twisting a knee in Ryan Bailey’s testimonial.
“They are both available for selection,” McDermott said. “We have got a bit more depth now, which is good.
“Mitch was available for selection last week, but didn’t make the team.”
Prop Ian Kirke, who underwent surgery in January to repair a damaged rib is “two or three weeks away” according to the coach.
“It is a peculiar injury,” McDermott said. “The bone has effectively healed, but he has been out of contact for a long time now and hasn’t been able to do anything for that length of time.
“We are almost starting again to get him fit.”
With only Kirke and long-term casualty Andy Yates (Achilles) now on the casualty list, McDermott said he is relishing having selection options.
“For two or three seasons we haven’t had an injury-free run,” he recalled. “I am touching wood as I say this, but let’s hope that continues.”