Leeds Rhinos: We still have plenty to play for says Cuthbertson

Leeds Rhinos' Adam Cuthbertson'

Leeds Rhinos' Adam Cuthbertson'

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IMPORT Adam Cuthbertson insists he - and Leeds Rhinos - still have things to achieve in 2016.

The first group of Rhinos players will begin pre-season training next week, with more experienced squad members reporting back between then and January.

They will have a hard act to follow next year, after an historic season during which Rhinos won a clean sweep of domestic trophies.

Leeds will be without legends Kylie Leuluai, Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield, who have all called time on their rugby league playing career, but Cuthbertson predicted an “exciting” year ahead.

“We’ve still got the World Club Challenge to get,” he said of the the showdown with Australian champions North Queensland Cowboys at Headingley in February.

“It’s going to be exciting to see how we can transform as a team with some younger players and some new players coming in.

“The likes of myself and Danny [McGuire] being a bit more of a senior role next year will be great for us.

“There’s still a lot of big challenges there and a lot of stuff to look forward to and enjoy.

“We’ve got some great kids in there like Stevie Ward and Liam Sutcliffe, who are great players for the club.

“They had to sit on the sidelines and watch us win all these games this year so they’ll be itching to push on as individuals and really get part of the team.”

It has also been a momentous year for Cuthbertson, who joined Rhinos from Newcastle Knights and was voted the media’s player of the year, as well as being nominated for Man of Steel.

He had an opportunity to join Rhinos several years ago, but said his decision to wait has paid off.

“I didn’t have my expectations too high, I just wanted to get over here and enjoy my game,” he said.

“I knew I was coming over to be part of a world-class team at the Rhinos and playing with some great players - some of whom have now moved on.

“I probably wasn’t right to come over back then [the previous time he had an opportunity].

“When Gary [Hetherington, Rhinos’ chief executive] was in talks with my manager a few years ago it was just before I went under the wing of Wayne Bennett.

“I learned a lot under him and it has been great to develop as a player and a person working with him when I did.

“Everything happens for a reason and it has been great timing me coming this year because we won a lot and managed to achieve so much.”

Meanwhile, Cuthbertson is eligible to play for England, but stressed he was not angry at coach Steve McNamara’s decision not to call him into the Test squad to face France and New Zealand.

He said: “I made a mention of the fact I put my hand up, and it was actually a long time ago.

“I’m not sure whether it’s my style of football that isn’t necessary for the team or what, but it is what it is.

“I can’t be bitter about it, I’ve just got to keep enjoying my footy and let the rest take care of itself.

“I think Danny was very unfortunate not to be in the team this year to be honest.

“I think he has been the best half-back in the competition all year and I’m more disappointed for the players around me that didn’t get picked, not so much myself.”