At times criticised for his form, Newcastle Knights fans would not dispute the recent form of prop Adam Cuthbertson but just as he is hitting his straps, a move away from the club has been finalised.
Cuthbertson, 29, has signed a 4-year deal with the Leeds Rhinos and the change in scenery will see him move closer to some of his family that live in Warrington.
Enjoying stints at the Manly Sea Eagles, Cronulla Sharks and St George Illawarra Dragons previously, Cuthbertson eventually found a place to settle in Newcastle and his form so far this year has been tremendous.
For Cuthbertson, the challenge of the Super League and the allure of the chance to play for a side like Leeds, were opportunities that he could not refuse.
“I am really pleased to be joining the Rhinos and excited about the challenge of joining a new competition in Super League,” said Cuthbertson.
“Leeds have been a top club for the last decade and I know I am joining a very competitive squad who have a great work ethic, that is evident from the success they have had. I have been to Leeds in the past and really enjoyed the City. My dad is from England so my family are also excited about me coming over too.”
The club tried to sign Cuthbertson a few years ago but he eventually opted to head to Newcastle and follow Wayne Bennett.
“We are delighted to have signed Adam,” said Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive, Gary Hethrington.
“He is a player we tried to sign three years ago when he was leaving St George but he opted to go with Wayne Bennett to Newcastle. This is a major coup for the Rhinos and Super League as a competition and reverses the trend in recent years.
“At 29, Adam is at the peak of his powers as a prop and he has agreed a long term contract with us, showing his commitment to coming to Leeds and our competition. Adam will effectively replace Ben Jones-Bishop in our senior 25 man squad which means all our players are now contracted for next season.”
As for what he can bring to the side, Leeds coach Brian McDermott knows the experience is there and their decision was made easier by some advice from former Rhino, Danny Buderus.
“Having spoken with Adam, I was impressed by how much he is looking forward to the challenge of joining the Rhinos next season,” said McDermott.
“As an experienced NRL professional, not only will he add quality to our group but he will also help our younger players develop and realise their full potential with his knowledge from the NRL competition. Given the state of game in Australia and in particular the demand for front rowers over there, this is a massive boost for the Rhinos and big decision for Adam however he has a passion to play in our competition and for Leeds.
“The club spoke to Danny Buderus about him also and he had nothing but good to say about him both as a player and an individual which is especially important to us.”
Although he is leaving at the end of the season, Cuthbertson will miss the Knights organisation and will give it his all in the remaining games this season.
â€œI am enjoying my time at the Knights and it was a hard decision to leave because I love the Club, love the area and have established myself here,â€ Cuthbertson said.
â€œIt has been an absolute pleasure playing for the Club and my job is not done here.
â€œMy focus at the moment is on turning our season around and playing the best football I can.
â€œI wonâ€™t be leaving anything in the tank on and off the field between now and the end of the season and hope to leave on a positive.â€