Adam Cuthbertson and Brian McDermott bring the best out of each other.
The latter signed the former ahead of the 2015 Super League campaign with Cuthbertson being Leeds’ only major signing going into the new season. Having finished sixth the previous season, many rolled their eyes and doubted whether he could propel the Rhinos to success once more.
His signing would prove a masterstroke. Cuthbertson racked up a record number of offloads that year and was nominated for the Man of Steel award as Leeds won the treble. He was then awarded the number 10 shirt following the retirement of legend Jamie Peacock and in 2017 he would play a key role in guiding Leeds back to Grand Final glory still under Brian McDermott.
The two parted company in 2018 when McDermott left his role as Head Coach at Headingley but the two have now been reunited at Featherstone as they look to guide the Rovers to promotion.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that Cuthbertson had traded York in for Featherstone to become a player-coach alongside his old boss and McDermott emphasised what the two-time Super League Champion can bring to the club: “He’s going to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience on the field, he knows what to do on the field.
“He’s not going to play every game, he may only play 50% of the games but clearly offensively for us he’s going to be more impactful.”
As a coach, he’ll obviously play a key role in the development of players around him and McDermott admitted that even at Leeds he always had an idea of how the team should perform especially with ball in hand: “When I was coaching him at the other club, he always had a strong opinion on what we should be doing offensively.”
As one of Super League’s all-time greatest offloaders, it comes as no surprise that he was eager to get Leeds playing a particular style back in his Headingley days. When asked whether or not his arrival and his offloading speaks to the style McDermott would like Featherstone to play in 2022, the Rovers coach said: “I don’t know if that’s Cuthbo’s game now, if you look at the numbers over the last two or three years he doesn’t do that as much.
“We’ve got to play a style which is effective offensively. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Cuthbo will need to fit into our style, we’re not basing our style around Cuthbo.”
Cuthbertson could make his Featherstone debut this evening as the Rovers take on York in the first Monday night game of the Championship season after the former Leeds man was included in McDermott’s 21-man squad for the fixture.