Leeds Rhinos: Sutcliffe’s hoping to make most of Sinfield’s absence

Liam Sutcliffe
Liam Sutcliffe
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THE hamstring injury which has sidelined Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield is a huge opportunity for his stand-in Liam Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe, 20, played all of last week’s win over Wigan Warriors at stand-off and is set to continue in the role away to Catalans Dragons tomorrow.

“Hopefully I can do a job,” said Sutcliffe, who has featured in half Rhinos’ six games this season and got his first start a week ago.

“It was good to get a full-80 under my belt last week. That’s what I’ve been wanting to do since the season started.

“You get more of a feel for the game if you start. Sometimes coming off the bench you don’t get a second wind, whereas starting the game and getting a full-80 you do that. That was good for me.”

Playing tomorrow would be another step towards Sutcliffe’s long-term goal of taking over from Sinfield as Rhinos’ next stand-off. He said: “Obviously we play in the same position. There will be a time when Kev does eventually retire and I want to jump into his shoes.

“I have learned a lot off Kev and Magsy [Danny McGuire] and Rob [Burrow].

“I am always learning stuff off them, every day in training –whether it’s just watching them or them actually giving me advice.

“I am always taking it in. They are the type of people you can go up to and ask about anything, whether it’s rugby or stuff off the field.

“You can ask them whatever you want and in that sense it has been good learning from them.”

Sutcliffe is also set to continue as Rhinos’ stand-in goal kicker tomorrow.

He landed three from six attempts last week, but reckons he will get better with more practice.

“I used to kick when I was in amateur,” said Sutcliffe, who landed a penalty goal after the hooter to beat Catalans in a Super League clash at Headingley Carnegie last year. “I was a decent kicker, but once I got into the academy other people kicked, so I stepped back from it and I’ve not really practiced much. The only time I’ve really practiced was a bit last year when Kev was out.

“But I did quite a bit with {assistant-coach] Barry Eaton in the off-season and I’m still doing stuff with him, so hopefully the more I practice the more consistent I can be. I don’t mind it, it’s another quality. The pressure is always on you, but that’s what you thrive on.”

Of tomorrow’s task, Sutcliffe said: “Catalans over there is never an easy game, especially with their crowd on the back of you. Hopefully we can go over there and get the job done, but they are a good team.”