Leeds Rhinos: Leeds’ rookie halves ready to tackle the best player in the world

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ROOKIE HALF-BACKS Liam Sutcliffe and Jordan Lilley are going from ball boys to ball players in club rugby league’s biggest game.

The two were both ball boys at past World Club Challenges, but will be in the middle of the action tomorrow when Leeds Rhinos meet Australian champions North Queensland Cowboys.

Jordan Lilley, left, and Liam Sutcliffe

Jordan Lilley, left, and Liam Sutcliffe

It will be 19-year-old Lilley’s seventh senior game and he is relishing testing himself against Cowboys scrum-half Johnathan Thurston, who is rated as the world’s best player.

“He’s one of my idols and I’ve got the same boots as him, I bought them just because I saw him wearing them,” Lilley said of Thurston. “He’s someone I’ve looked up to and if I get the call to play against him on Sunday night it’ll be a battle I’m really looking forward to.

“You grow up dreaming of playing in games like these, it’ll be a real honour.”

Sutcliffe, 21, is more experienced but has just two competitive games under his belt following a knee reconstruction. The Leeds-born half missed his club’s treble-winning feats last season and said: “I’m really excited for the game.

“We’re all wanting to put in a good performance collectively and hopefully as a team we can do each other and Leeds Rhinos proud against such a great team.”