LEEDS RHINOS star Adam Cuthbertson says he hopes to get the nod to play in the Boxing Day Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge.
The Australian prop made his debut in the same game against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 12 months ago and went on to enjoy a glorious 2015 as a central part of Rhinos’ treble success.
Often, some of the club’s more experienced players are rested for the opening friendly of pre-season but the 30-year-old is keen to play his part against Wildcats if needed by head coach Brian McDermott.
“I do actually want to play in it,” he said, despite having featured in all but two of their 36 games last season following his signing from Newcastle Knights.
“I don’t know what Mac’s thinking and whether the coaching staff do want to rest me.
“But if they told me I’m playing or ask me to I’ll definitely be saying ‘yes’.
“It’s good to be back in training and working towards the new season.
“People are excited by it and we’re looking forward to going again.”
Cuthberston, who was shortlisted for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel following his brilliant debut campaign at Headingley, will be expected to take on greater responsibility with veteran props Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai now having retired.
With his bullocking runs and constant ability to get the ball free in the tackle – his record-breaking 125 off-loads was nearly double that of nearest challenger Liam Watts (66) from Hull FC – will remain a definitive highlight of the last campaign.
Only St Helens’ Alex Walmsley and Peacock made more than his 527 carries in Super League where Cuthberston was often started as a loose-forward acting as an extra front-row in Leeds’, at times, formidable pack.
He is refreshed and ready to do it all again.
“I didn’t go back home to Australia during the break,” he added.
“We stayed around here and did some travelling in Europe.
“We got out to Barcelona and then Rome where we did all the touristy things before heading over to Paris for a couple of days.
“It was literally a week after the attacks there so everyone was treading on eggshells.
“We could have missed it off the trip but you can’t let things like that stop you experiencing such places and I’m glad we went.
“It’s a beautiful city and the people there were amazing to be honest.
“I think everyone went out of their way to reassure us; they knew who the tourists were and there was a couple of points where I think they made an extra effort to talk to us.”