Leeds Rhinos: Sutcliffe won't rush his injury recovery

AFTER ONE failed comeback, Liam Sutcliffe insists he will not rush back from his latest injury.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 23rd April 2018, 6:00 am
Liam Sutcliffe is tackled by Wakefield Trinity's Reece Lyne.
Liam Sutcliffe is tackled by Wakefield Trinity's Reece Lyne.

Sutcliffe has played only five games for Leeds Rhinos this season, starting twice at centre and three times as stand-off.

He was sidelined from the end of February until early April due to a foot injury, but suffered a recurrence in his comeback game against Wakefield Trinity two weeks ago.

That all adds up to what Sutcliffe admits is a “bit of a frustrating time at the moment”.

Liam Sutcliffe.

He said: “I spent so long out and to come back and do it again in my first game back is frustrating.

“I’m not sure when I’ll be back. I think because I did it in the first game back I don’t want to rush it this time.

“When it’s ready it’s ready, but I’m hoping it’s not too long.”

Describing the injury, Sutcliffe said: “It is a ligament at the top of my foot.

Ash Handley.

“I did it against Widnes away and then came back against Wakefield.

“I don’t know if I pushed it a bit too early; it felt fine going into the game, but it was just a bit of a freak incident again, I just went over on it again and it turns out I’ve done the same thing again.

“You train all pre-season and you want to get stuck into games straight away.

“I’ve only managed to play a few so it is a tough time, but I’ll hopefully come back stronger from it.

Liam Sutcliffe.

“There’s not a lot I can do, all I can concentrate on is getting right as quickly as I can and hopefully try and get back in the team.”

Sutcliffe was a member of last year’s Grand Final winning side and promoted to the number four jersey in the closed-season, so the injury has struck at a time when he was establishing himself in the side, in a settled position.

“I wanted to have a big year on the back of last season,” he admitted.

“To have only played a few games so far and spend most of it out injured is massively disappointing for me, but hopefully I’ll be fit and well soon and trying to get back in the team.”

Ash Handley.

Sutcliffe has been a utility-player for much of his time in Rhinos’ senior squad, having played full-back, centre, both half-back positions and in the back-row since making his debut in 2013.

He made the centre position his own towards the end of last year, but has had to fill in for No 6 Joel Moon for more than half his appearances this term.

“I was looking at trying to claim the centre spot this year,” he said.

“I got the number four shirt and I trained there all through pre-season, but I’ve only managed to get two games so far.

“We seem to get a lot of injuries especially at the start of the year, but hopefully I can get my foot right and try and push for the centre spot.

“Obviously there’s a lot of competition for places now with how Ash Handley is playing and how Harry Newman is playing at Featherstone.

“That’s only good for the team.”

Newman, 18, has scored eight tries in five games on dual-registration for Rovers and is being tipped for a big future at Leeds.

Sutcliffe said that is “great to see”.

He added: “You can tell from training how good he is, he plays above his age.

“I’ve not seen any of his games for Featherstone, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about him.”

Handley moved from wing into the centres after Sutcliffe’s injury and has also been in strong form.

“I am really happy for Ash,” Sutcliffe said.

“He has been absolutely brilliant and he’s been a big part of how we’ve performed.

“It’s great for Ash and for the team.”

Rhinos’ players were given some time off after last Thursday’s defeat at Hull and will begin preparations on Wednesday for the visit to Hull KR four days later.