FEELING FIT and playing with a smile on his face will bring the best out of Adam Cuthbertson next season, the Leeds Rhinos forward reckons.
Cuthbertson says he is going into the new year in good shape, physically and mentally and that augurs well for Rhinos as they bid to get back to the right end of the Betfred Super League table.
The 33-year-old Australian played 25 times for Rhinos last year, but confirmed he is feeling much healthier ahead of the new campaign which begins away to Warrington Wolves a month tomorrow.
Cuthbertson was pleased with his first pre-season hit-out, in the 10-4 win over Wakefield Trinity last week and said: “A big part of it’s just being fit again, having my fitness back.
“When you’ve got your fitness on the field you can enjoy the moment and you’re not having to play catch up all the time, which is great.
“I feel very fit and I think a lot of the boys are feeling the same way so it’s very enjoyable.”
I feel very fit and I think a lot of the boys are feeling the same way so it’s very enjoyable.Leeds Rhinos’ Adam Cuthbertson
Cuthbertson described last week’s game as a “solid hit out” and reckons Rhinos have put their difficult 2018 aside.
The victory was a boost to Rhinos’ confidence after they won only four of their final 16 competitive meetings with Super League opposition in 2018.
“I think a lot of it stems from the systems that are in place at the moment,” he added. “We were quite good defensively [last week].
“We didn’t have much ball and we were quite scratchy in offence, but they are things we’ve got to work on in the next few weeks going into the season.
“We had numerous opportunities to break their line and we’ve just got to be a bit more clinical.
“When we get that right we will be a lot better for it, but we got our defence right which is a great one and the systems are in place and everyone’s buying in.
“That creates the real positive vibe and attitude.”
The solid defensive effort which restricted Wakefield to only one try has given Rhinos a platform to build on, Cuthbertson reckons. He was also encouraged by the fact last week’s win was achieved without seven first-choice players including marquee signings Konrad Hurrell and Trent Merrin.
“They will strengthen the team,” Cuthbertson predicted.
“I think that’s something I think we’ve needed the last few years, having that depth.
“The kids who are coming through the ranks now didn’t look out of place at all, they handled themselves very well, they are looking fit and they are up for the fight.”