AUSSIE OFFLOADER Adam Cuthbertson is at odds with the pundits who reckon Leeds Rhinos are nailed on to win the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Rhinos are 1 /5 to retain the trophy, with tomorrow’s Wembley opponents Hull KR distant outsiders at 7/2.
But while the bookies may have written Hull KR off, Cuthbertson – a former teammate of Rovers duo Albert Kelly and Josh Mantellato – warns it will all come down to whoever’s best on the day.
“I don’t think you can read anything into it,” said the prop-forward, who has been a huge hit for Leeds since joining them last winter.
“One thing the odds can do is work against you. It is not going to get you a win, because you are the favourites.
“If anything, you’d rather be flying under the radar.
“I saw my old team Newcastle on Monday, they were underdogs to beat Melbourne and they knocked them off quite convincingly.
“There you have it, you can’t read into things. You have to prepare as best you can and you get a lot of confidence from the way you prepare during the week – and consistency through the year.
“That’s how you get confidence going into games, not from whether you are favourites or not.”
A Challenge Cup winner’s medal would continue a dream start to Cuthbertson’s English career.
He has already set a record for the most offloads in a Super League season, is being tipped as a contender for Man of Steel and rated as an 8/1 chance for the Lance Todd Trophy as Cup final man of the match.
“Personally, you can always get better,” he said.
“As a team, you couldn’t ask for much more.
“You don’t want personal accolades and you don’t really aim for those sorts of things.
“You aim to do it as a team and it is much more enjoyable when you get team success.
“It is very exciting to be able to get to the final with such a good bunch of blokes.”
The final will be only Cuthbertson’s third Challenge Cup tie.
He has missed just two games this year, the quarter-final win at Hull and last week’s Super-8s game against the same opponents.
He said: “Last year I was sitting in my mother’s lounge room on the Sunshine Coast, cheering on the boys when they were taking on Cas in the final.
“It was great to watch on tv and it gave me an understanding of how big a thing it is, but it’s another thing to get over here and experience it first hand.
“I am really looking forward to it.”
Cuthbertson has now got a grip of how the knockout competition works – after amusing his team-mates by asking if points were awarded for Challenge Cup ties.
“I was a bit confused about it when I first got here,” Cuthbertson confessed.
“You hear about it in Australia, but nobody really explained the rules.
“With all the other changes to the Super-8s and that, I was a bit confused as to how it works.
“It is a great concept, a competition where you’ve only got one chance and you have to win every game leading into the final to contend for the Cup.
“It is a great thing to be part of and it really gives you something really big to play for during the season.”