TEENAGE STAR Liam Sutcliffe has become the latest Leeds Rhinos player to sign a new contract.
The deal extends a long-term contract which was announced in July last year and will keep him at Leeds until the end of 2017.
Sutcliffe, who was last week promoted to number 18 in Rhinos’ squad numbers, has made 44 first team appearances, including 26 this year, when he was a member of Leeds’ Challenge Cup-winning team.
The former Hunslet Warriors amateur – who can play at stand-off, loose-forward or in the centres – will celebrate his 20th birthday on Tuesday.
He said: “As soon as (chief executive) Gary Hetherington said the club would like to offer me a longer deal I was more than happy to sign.
“I grew up dreaming of playing for the Rhinos and there is no other club I want to play for.
“Last season was great for me because of the amount of game time I was able to get and that has given me a lot of confidence going into next season.
“Pre-season has been great so far, especially because we have got so many players in for the whole build up.
“Training alongside all our experienced players gives me and all the young lads a great boost and drives us on.”
Sutcliffe added: “I heard the comments Gary Hetherington made about building a squad for the future around our young players and that does give us a boost.
“The squad will have a period of transition over the next few years and for all the squad to know the vision for us as a group is reassuring and acts as motivation for us to carry on the great tradition of success over the last decade.
“I know 2015 is a big year for me to cement my place in the squad and I am doing everything I can in pre-season to make sure I make the most of the opportunity.”
Coach Brian McDermott reckons Sutcliffe – who was the Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star in 2013 – has a big future.
“Liam has already shown he has all the qualities needed to succeed at the Super League level,” McDermott said.
“Like a number of our young players, people forget how young he still is because he has been around the first team for a number of years.
“He is still developing his natural game, but we saw last year that the foundations are definitely there. When you think back to his nerveless kick to win the game against Catalan in the summer it shows that he has a bright future in the game.”