SHOOTING STAR Liam Sutcliffe admits he doesn’t know where his long-term Leeds Rhinos future lies.
Sutcliffe has played in all Rhinos’ 13 matches since he was recalled from a loan spell at Bradford Bulls two months ago, starting at centre, half-back and at loose-forward, as well as regularly being used off the substitutes’ bench.
He played the full 80 minutes at loose-forward in last Sunday’s 38-28 win at Widnes Vikings, when he was among Rhinos’ try scorers, but insisted he has still to find his favoured role.
“I honestly don’t know what my position is,” conceded Sutcliffe, who is on course to beat the 18 games he played in his debut campaign last year.
“I don’t want to get pigeonholed in one position. If being a utility-player helps me get in the team, I don’t mind playing wherever Mac [coach Brian McDermott] puts me.
“I will go anywhere, I am not fussed.”
Of playing at loose-forward last week, Sutcliffe reflected: “It was a bit different.
“I was blowing a bit and playing in the middle is never easy.
“I have been used to defending two in, so it was a bit of a shock to the system.”
Despite missing six successive games early in the campaign, Sutcliffe has rattled up the most consecutive appearances of anybody in Rhinos’ squad.
He played four games on loan at Bradford and has appeared in all Rhinos’ 13 matches since - and said he has already exceeded his expectations this year.
“When I came back off loan I didn’t know if I’d be getting in the team or if I’d keep getting rotated, but he has put me in for every game since I came back,” he said.
“I am really pleased with how it is going and being on loan has worked for me.
“It was good to get some game time early in the season.
“We had a full-strength team when I went on loan so it was going to be hard to get in the team, but since I have come back I have managed to keep my place.
“Mac explained the reasons for me going on loan, he just wanted me to get some game time at the start of the year.
“He only sent me there to benefit me, which it has done.”
Rhinos will drop a place to third in the First Utility Super League table if Wigan Warriors beat St Helens tonight.
But a win for Wigan would give Rhinos chance to regain top spot against Catalan in two days’ time and Sutcliffe reckons they are getting back on track after their mid-season slump.
“We are making little steps,” he said. “We are still in a good position, but we know we haven’t been up to scratch lately.
“We can play a lot better than we have been doing, we have been working hard in training and hopefully we can progress.
“We are going to take each game as it comes, try and improve on things we know we need to improve on and hopefully we will get there in the end.
“There’s no easy games this year. Every team is tough and there have been some surprise teams this year.
“Catalan are starting to come back into things now, they have been playing well and we are expecting another tough game.”