Leeds Rhinos: Off-loading specialist Cuthbertson getting in trim
LEEDS RHINOS' burly off-loading prop Adam Cuthbertson admits he is looking to slim down in readiness for the new Super League season.
The Australian, nominated for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel during his debut 2015 campaign when Leeds won the treble, struggled for consistency during his second year in the UK.
Cuthbertson, of course, was not alone as the champions ended up being dragged into an unexpected relegation dogfight.
However, as they build towards 2017, he believes he is capable of recapturing his best.
“Personally, I’ve just been working on my own game,” said the 31-year-old, who arrived from Newcastle Knights.
“I carried a bit of weight last year which wasn’t good. On the back of that, I had some injuries and it seemed the harder I tried, the worse it got.
“I’m focusing on getting fit and healthy this season and getting back to my earlier form.
“The break was great but we’ve been in four or five weeks now and there’s a real intensity.
“Everyone is very keen after last year to get going again, things are really competitive and there’s a fresh feel to things.
“It’s great to have some training facilities this time, too.”
Rarely can a player have experienced such contrasting fortunes in his first two seasons with a club. The ex-Manly Sea Eagles star conceded: “It is tough but I think we have learned a lot from it and grown plenty as a club and as players.
“You have to remember we’ve a lot of young players coming through here and they have had to do it real tough from the ’off.
“We’ve got some brilliant young kids here. All they needed was some experience under their belts and they ended up getting the test of their life!
“That will probably be the hardest circumstances they’ll ever have to go through in rugby and it will toughen them up.
“I think we’ll be great for it all and there’s some really good signs for 2017.
“Obviously, we’ve had to go from having all the success of winning the treble last year to really struggling this season so it’s good to get back into the swing of things and get more consistency into our training.”
Meanwhile, Cuthbertson is once more offering fans the chance to buy exclusive player-issue items to raise money to buy gifts for children who are in hospital over Christmas.
Last year he gave them the opportunity to purchase a lucky bag of training/playing gear for £50 and will meet fans in the club store at Headingley to do so again this Thursday (6.30pm).
He has been helped out by team-mates Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Ryan Hall and James Segeyaro along with some other items from the squad.
The bags will be sold on a first-come first-served basis and payment must be by cash so Cuthbertson can buy the gifts to distribute on Christmas Day in the children’s wards in Leeds.
“I did it last year and it turned out really well so I thought why not do it again?” he said.
“The club’s on board as well now which makes it a bit more official and, hopefully, we can raise plenty of money.
“Obviously it’s not an easy time over Christmas for anyone who’s in hospital.
“It was good to go in and put some smiles on the kids faces last year at such a tough time as well as family members and even the staff, too. I’ll look to do the same again now.”