Super League winner Liam Sutcliffe linked with Castleford Tigers after requesting transfer from Leeds Rhinos
Utility-player Liam Sutcliffe has asked for a move away from Leeds Rhinos, but remains a member of their squad “for the time being”.
Director of rugby Kevin Sinfield confirmed Sutcliffe has submitted a transfer request, but stressed that is not due to pay cuts imposed following the coronavirus pandemic.
Sinfield said: “This isn’t something that’s happened through Covid, I think Liam has fancied a change for a period of time.
“We’ve tried to work through it, but he has decided it’s probably the best thing for him to try and have a new chance somewhere else.”
Sutcliffe, 25, joined Rhinos’ academy from Hunslet Warriors and made his first team debut in 2013.
The club’s second-longest-serving player, after captain Stevie Ward, he played in Rhinos’ 2014 Challenge Cup success and was a Grand Final winner three years later.
His 171 appearances for Leeds include two this season, but his last game before the coronavirus shutdown was on dual-registration for Featherstone Rovers when he made his comeback from a knee injury.
He has since had surgery and did not train yesterday when Rhinos began preparations for their Super League return against Huddersfield Giants on August 2, though he did attend their Kirkstall base as scheduled.
“I have been speaking to him probably since the back end of last season,” Sinfield added.
“He talked about possibly wanting to try something new and have a bit of a change and a fresh challenge.
“He knuckled down in pre-season and he was in this [yesterday] morning.
“There’s been no big barny or fall out and he will be up for selection when he’s back fit.
“For the time being he will remain part of the squad and we are happy to have him.”
Castleford Tigers have been linked with Sutcliffe who is under contract at Rhinos until the end of 2021.
One of the most versatile players in Super League, he has featured at full-back, centre, in the halves and second-row.
He earned an England cap against France in 2018 and played for the second-string Knights against Papua New Guinea the same year.
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