Leeds Rhinos: Talks with McDermott persuaded Sutty to stay

Liam Sutcliffe. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Liam Sutcliffe. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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LEEDS RHINOS’ most versatile player, Liam Sutcliffe, has committed his long-term future to the club by signing a new four-year contract.

Sutcliffe, 22, says he has now set his sights on settling into a specialist position and adding to the Challenge Cup winner’s medal he received three years ago.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The new deal is an upgrade on his previous contract which was due to expire at the end of 2018.

Sutcliffe will be a Leeds player until at least the autumn of 2021 and he said: “I am really pleased to finally get it sorted.

“There has been a lot of people asking me what I’m doing next year and it has been really tough to try and keep things to myself, but now it’s able to come out I am really pleased and over the moon.”

Sutcliffe revealed discussions with coach Brian McDermott persuaded him to sign a new, longer agreement.

“A lot of people thought I was out of contract at the end of this year,” he said.

“That wasn’t the case, but I am glad to have signed for the next few years as well.

“I have had a lot of talks with Brian over the last few months and that has really made me want to commit my future to Leeds.

“I am really looking forward to seeing how far we progress.

“Everyone has to consider their options, but the conversations I’ve had with Brian really made my mind up.”

A product of the Hunslet Warriors community club, Sutcliffe has scored 41 tries, 152 goals and one drop goal in 114 appearances since his debut in 2013.

Though listed in Leeds Rhinos’ official handbook as a loose-forward, that is one of the roles he has not filled this term.

In 21 starts he has featured at full-back, right-centre, left-centre, stand-off, scrum-half and second-row, as well as three games as substitute.

“I know sometimes I’ll have to fill in different roles when we have injuries and what have you, but in the main hopefully I can nail down a position now,” he said.

“Over the last few months I have really nailed down the centre position, I have played there a fair bit and I have really enjoyed it.

“Hopefully going forward – into pre-season and next season as well – I can really nail down that position.

“I am enjoying being at centre and hopefully I can keep training and playing there, but if I do fill in at stand-off every now and then, I don’t mind that at all.”

Sutcliffe, who missed out on Rhinos’ treble-success in 2015 due to a serious knee injury, predicted Leeds can get back among the silverware over the next four years.

“Obviously that’s the aim,” he said. “Leeds are known for winning trophies and that’s what I want to do.

“I know for a fact Leeds are always going to be contending for trophies and will be up near the top of the table next year.

“Hopefully we can do that over the next few years as well.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos forward Josh Walters has avoided a ban after submitting an early guilty plea to a grade A disciplinary charge.

Walters was accused of “other contrary behaviour” in Featherstone Rovers’ defeat by against Catalans Dragons last Saturday, when he was playing for the Championship club on dual-registration.