AUSSIE signing Adam Cuthbertson ignored jet-lag to take up a golden chance to see just what he is getting into at Leeds Rhinos.
The prop, captured from NRL side Newcastle Knights, only arrived in the country on Friday having flown in from Down Under to take up a four-year deal with the club.
But he quickly got to grips with his new surroundings before yesterday’s first official training session.
“It’s been a bit of a blur trying to get everything sorted all at once and we’ve not really settled in yet and are still looking for a place,” Cuthbertson told the YEP.
“We’re taking it all as it comes, though, and the people are great.
“I wasn’t supposed to do too much Saturday but got invited along to the 150th celebrations of rugby in Leeds at the Minster and that was all very interesting.
“It was a bit of an eye-opener, if I’m honest, to the whole culture of things here. I got to speak to some legends of the game and a taste of just how big rugby is here in the city.
“I’m really glad I went along and it was amazing to hear some of the stories and listen to what rugby means to the people here.”
Cuthbertson is charged with trying to help return Leeds to the summit of Super League in 2015.
For all their six titles since 2004, Rhinos have missed out in each of the last two seasons to leave some critics saying their time is up.
The 29-year-old’s arrival offsets the loss of ex-Great Britain prop Ryan Bailey (Hull KR) and fellow front-row Ian Kirke (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) who, having been ensconced in Leeds’ glory years, both made surprise moves in this off-season.
With Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai each 36 years old – the latter turns 37 in a little over a week – Cuthbertson is a relative pup compared to his new front-row colleagues.
“I got a constant reminder of that and of how old those boys are!” he laughed, having met them on Saturday.
“They are great players, though, with so much experience and so dominant in Super League for so many years.
“It’ll be great to learn from the best and it’ll be quite interesting to play alongside them as well.
“Two good players – Kirke and Bailey – have left but I hope to come here and make my own mark on the game and the team to do the business for Leeds.”
Cuthbertson is no stranger to Yorkshire either having played in the Manly side that defeated Leeds in the 2009 World Club Challenge at Elland Road.
“I’ve had my ups and downs,” he said. “I was supposed to play earlier than I did but a few injuries held me back and it was 21 before I had my first proper full season of first-team rugby.
“But that was probably a blessing in disguise – I was a bit of a lanky thing back then but, now, over these last couple of years I’ve played some really good football. I’m 29 now but don’t feel like I’m getting any older. I feel like I’ve gained a lot more knowledge of the game, am feeling fit, great and am a lot more wiser.”
It is no surprise he has picked up some knowledge given he has spent so long working under Wayne Bennett, the doyen of modern-day coaches.
“I followed Wayne from St George to Newcastle and had a great relationship with him,” he said. “He’s taught me a lot over the last four years especially on the defensive side and I owe him a lot. He’s definitely a legend and I’ll try to bring as much as of what I took off him to Leeds.
“I spoke a lot with Bedsy (ex-Australia captain Danny Buderus who won the 2011 Grand Final with Leeds), who gave me a fair idea of what to expect with the Rhinos. It was sad to leave in a way but I’m really excited to be here and with Leeds Rhinos now.”