Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC: Liam Sutcliffe sets sights on 200 Super League games for Headingley club

After reaching 200 games for Leeds Rhinos earlier this month, centre Liam Sutcliffe has set his sights on another double century.

By Peter Smith
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:45 pm

The 27-year-old is Rhinos’ longest-serving player, having made his debut nine years ago and tonight’s visit of Hull will be his 170th Betfred Super League game for the club.

The previous home match, against Catalans Dragons, was his 200th Rhinos appearance in all competitions and Sutcliffe reflected: “If you’d said to me at 18 ‘you’ll end up getting your 200th game for Leeds at some point’, I don’t know if I’d have believed it.

“There’s been some brilliant players who have played 200 games for this club so I am pretty happy with that.

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Liam Sutcliffe in action against Wigan in round two. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“There’s a board at Kirkstall [Rhinos’ training base] that lists players who’ve played 200 Super League games ; the likes of JP [Jamie Peacock], Kev [Sinfield], Rob [Burrow], Mags [Danny McGuire], Kal [Kallum Watkins], Hally [Ryan Hall], Abbo [Carl Ablett] are on it and I am hoping to get on that as well.

“I’ve still got a few years left in me, so I’ll see how I go.”

Sutcliffe, who missed the second half of last season because of knee surgery, has started at centre in all four of Rhinos’ games this year.

“I am really enjoying my rugby,” he enthused.

“It has been good to get over the injury and I am enjoying being back in the centre and hopefully we can have a pretty good year.”

He described his form so far as “not too bad”.

Sutcliffe said: “There’s obviously things to work on, which is to be expected, but I am just glad to get a few runs at centre.

“I want to kick on this year and stay there for the year and hopefully put in some decent performances, like the last time I played there.

“I am all right with where I am, I know I have still got a fair bit to improve on and hopefully I’ll click at some point and I’ll be happy with it.”

Rhinos are also in buoyant mood after getting off the mark for the season with a 34-18 success at Wakefield Trinity a week ago.

“It’s always good to get a win, it puts everyone in a good mood,” Sutcliffe said.

“I think especially with how we went in the first half, we can be pleased with it.

“We planned to throw the ball around a bit more than we have been doing and I think we looked pretty good, pretty sharp.”

After scoring five tries in the opening 40 minutes, Rhinos added one more after the break, when Trinity hit back with three touchdowns, two of those in the closing moments.

Sutcliffe insisted: “Games do get like that sometimes.

“We did speak at half-time about sticking with it, but fair credit to Wakey. They did come back.

“There was still some stuff in the second half that was pretty good, but I think we were just a bit too sloppy in the second half, after what happened in the first.”

Consistency is crucial and the challenge for Rhinos now is to turn one win into a string of positive results.

“That’s the idea,” Sutcliffe said. “The plan is obviously to go on a bit of a run now.

“Everyone is in pretty high spirits and we’ve got somewhere to work from now, a bit of a base on how to play.

“Hopefully we can keep improving week-in and week-out now and get some more wins.

“We need to be consistent if we want to be challenging for silverware come the end of the year.

“I am sure we will focus on that and hopefully now, after a good win, we’ll get a few more under our belt.”

Rhinos have won their last two Super League meetings with Hull and beat them at Headingley in pre-season, but the black and whites are aiming for a third successive win in competitive matches away to Leeds.

Despite the visitors’ injury problems, Sutcliffe knows Rhinos will need to be good tonight. Hull are on the comeback trail after a defeat at Castleford Tigers five days ago and the Rhinos centre warned: “It is always tough against them.

“They are always pretty big games and we know what kind of game we’ll be in for.

“It will be another tough one and we’ll have to play for the full 80 minutes if we want to get the win.

“There’s a bit of a rivalry, it’s probably known Hull don’t like Leeds and they bring a fair bit of support so the atmosphere is always good to play in.”

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