A FORMER team-mate reckons Leeds Rhinos have struck gold in the shape of 2015 recruit Adam Cuthbertson.
The Aussie prop is set to join Rhinos on a four-year contract beginning next season and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats forward Taulima Tautai believes he will be a big hit in Super League.
Tautai played alongside Cuthbertson at Aussie club Cronulla Sharks and predicted: “I think he will be a good signing for Leeds.
“He has got a lot of size about him and he is very skilful too, for a big bloke. He loves to offload and he is one of those players you can pretty much build a team around.
“He can pretty much start something from nothing. He is a bit like Ali Lauitiiti when he was there, so I think he will be a real good signing.”
Cuthbertson is 29 and Tautai said he is heading for Super League at the right time in his career.
“He has been at a few clubs,” Tautai said. “He started at Manly, he went to Cronulla and St George and he is at Newcastle now under Wayne Bennett.
“I think he brings a lot of experience to Leeds. His form has been good this year, he has played a lot of minutes and I think he will be good for them.” Cuthbertson played under super coach Bennett at both St George and Newcastle and Tautai added: “He is one of the best coaches going around, so that’s good for him (Cuthbertson).
“At Cronulla when I was there he didn’t really get a good run, he was a bit down, but good on him for picking himself up and doing what he loves, playing football.”
Some Australian players struggle to adjust to the English game, but Cuthbertson won’t have any problems, according to Tautai.
He added: “I think he will suit the game over here. He is an attacking player predominantly. He is one of those players who plays what he sees.
“And because he is a big bloke he can cart it up, he is pretty strong too. I think it will suit him over here really well.”
Cuthbertson has been recommended by Newcastle’s former Rhinos hero Danny Buderus for his attitude off the field as well as on it and Tautai said: “He is a real top bloke.
“When I was at Cronulla, because it was too far for me to go home I used to stay at his place a lot.
“We used to hang around, play basketball and play guitar, we enjoyed each other’s company. It will be good to catch up with him.”
Meanwhile, Tautai is hoping to make an early return to action for Wildcats as they battle to stay clear of the First Utility Super League relegation zone.
“I tore my hamstring about a month ago,” he said. “It is one of those things that takes time to heal, but hopefully I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.
“Hopefully if I can get back I can add to the team. It is very frustrating, especially missing the last two games. I was devastated to miss the Magic Weekend, because that was my first game for the club last year, but hopefully I will come back soon.”
Cuthbertson’s family are from Warrington and he has recently been granted a British passport, which means he will not count on Rhinos’ overseas players quota. In an interview with his management company MapSports, Rhinos’ recruit said he has an eye on playing for England during his spell at Leeds.
Of his decision to apply for a UK passport, he said: “It benefits the club for me to be a non-quota player, but the main reason is that I am aiming to represent the England in the near future. It has been a goal of mine for over 12 months now and I realise there is a solid group of players that took the team to within 30 seconds of a World Cup final last year.
“I hope to impress the coaching staff enough to earn a spot in the squad. I have made contact indirectly with (England coach) Steve McNamara and look forward to speaking with him in the future if he is interested.”