Leeds Rhinos: Adam Cuthbertson happy to keep juggling playing and coaching duties
VETERAN LEEDS Rhinos forward Adam Cuthbertson has not decided if next season will be his last as a player, but says he is keen to go into full-time coaching when he eventually hangs up his boots.
Cuthbertson was a treble-winner in his first season at Leeds, in 2015 and earned a second Super League champion’s ring two years later.
The former Manly, Cronulla, Illawarra and Newcastle Knights player was appointed coach of Rhinos’ women’s side ahead of their first season two years ago.
He has led them to every available final during his time in charge, winning the Challenge Cup twice, the league leaders’ trophy last term and the Super League title in 2019.
The Australian-born ball-playing prop or loose-forward was also part of England women’s coaching staff for the recent two-Test series in Papua New Guinea.
At 34, he will be the oldest player in Rhinos’ squad next season and is entering the final year of his contract.
His Rhinos career seemed to be winding down at the start of last term, under coach David Furner, but Cuthbertson admitted Richard Agar’s appointment as team boss gave him a new lease of life.
“I am not sure, I am keeping very open on that,” Cuthbertson said of the prospect of playing on beyond 2020.
“I have got a lot of things going on, I have been coaching now for a bit and I am at uni’ as well – I am doing a masters in sports directorship at Salford University.
“I am trying to dab on a few different things, to get myself on the front foot already, but I don’t know – it all comes down to whether I am enjoying it still and playing good rugby. I’ll make decisions from there.”
Cuthbertson stressed: “I don’t ever want to go on too long and be playing poorly and fizzle out. As long as I am playing good and I am enjoying it – those are the main things – I’ll go from there.
“I have to think about my body as well, but so far, so good.”
Cuthbertson admitted Leeds’ change of coach, in May, was a turning point for him during a year when he made 23 appearances.
“Rich sort of aided my game a bit more than maybe Dave did,” he reflected.
“He maybe allowed me to sort of play it again so my game did pick up again and, more importantly, it got me excited to play again because I was struggling at the beginning of the year, to be fair.
“When things changed a bit and I got back into that role I had played at the club for a few years and had success with, it was very enjoyable and it worked for everyone.”
After his achievements in a part-time role with Leeds Rhinos’ women, Cuthbertson confirmed he would “love to” coach on a professional level after his playing career ends. He said: “I really, really enjoy it – just as much as I do playing.”
But he admitted: “It is a hard one to put into perspective at the minute because I’ve had a lot of success.
“I think coaching’s one of those things – just like playing – where you have to go through a bit of a tough trot to to realise whether you really love it or not.
“But I can honestly say I have really loved coaching the last couple of years and helping develop a group of girls at Leeds Rhinos to have the success they have had.
“It is something I’d definitely like to go forward with in the future at a high level.”
England’s women drew their series with Papua New Guinea but, for Cuthbertson, who was assistant-coach, being part of the national set up provided valuable experience.
“I put my hand up for that, which was sort of taking it to a new level and seeing things from a different angle,” he reflected.
“I found that very interesting. I have got a big interest in it so I could see myself doing a lot more in the future, whether it’s coaching men or women.”