Leeds Rhinos stalwart Liam Sutcliffe makes shock move to Super League rivals

Leeds Rhinos stalwart Liam Sutcliffe has made a shock move to Super League rivals.

The versatile centre joins the Hull FC from Yorkshire rivals Leeds Rhinos, signing a three-year deal at the MKM Stadium.

The 27-year-old, who has international appearances for both England and the England Knights, has 222 career appearances to his name, which includes over 200 for the Rhinos since making his senior debut in 2013.

A Super League Grand Final winner in 2017, Sutcliffe was also part of the squad that won the Super League in 2015.

He also has two Challenge Cup medals to his name after victories with Leeds in 2014 and 2020, as well as featuring in two World Club Challenge matches.

A tall and skilful centre, Sutcliffe could also be an invaluable utility option to Brett Hodgson’s squad, with the ability to play at back row, lock forward, half back and full back.

A proven points scorer, he is also a reliable goal kicker, having scored 70 tries and over 250 goals for his hometown club, with eight tries in 19 appearances this season.

He has also contributed 8 assists and made 39 tackle busts in Super League for Leeds this season.

Standing at 6ft 2, Sutcliffe has proven himself to be a firm favourite with the Rhinos faithful over the last decade as the club’s current longest-serving player, and will now bring that Super League experience to the Black & Whites.

He is the latest name to bolster the Airlie Bird’s ranks for the new season, alongside fellow new recruits Tex Hoy and Jake Truman, with the likes of Connor Wynne, Jordan Lane, and Mitieli Vulikijapani all extending their stays with the club this season, while youngsters Davy Litten and Charlie Severs have also made the step-up with their first senior contracts.

Speaking to hullfc.com in his first interview since signing for 2023, Sutcliffe said:

“Having spent pretty much my entire career at Leeds and being a homegrown player, it’s a big decision for me to make the move, but it’s one I’m really excited for.

“Having been over to the city and spoken to Brett, I really liked what he had to say about the club’s vision and ambition over the next few years.

“Hull is a big club – that speaks for itself, so I’m looking forward to coming into this new environment and playing my part in helping the club achieve what it is striving for.

He added: “Every time I’ve played at Hull, I’ve always been on the wrong end of that passion having been wearing a Leeds shirt, so I’m excited to be on the right end of it in 2023; playing in a big stadium with a great fan base, I can’t wait to get started next season.”

On what he believes he can add to the squad in 2023, he continued: “I think my running game is something I can add to the group. I like to get my hands on the ball a lot out-wide and put people away for tries as much as I can.

“Obviously, I have plenty of experience under my belt too which is always beneficial to the group and working with younger players too which is something the club are looking to build for the long term.

“Since I knew the move was happening, I’ve kept an eye on the recruitment for next season and I’m really looking forward to link up with Jake (Truman) and Tex (Hoy). Obviously I’m more familiar with Jake having played against him plenty of times.

“I was actually having a coffee with him recently and talking about the move, so that got me excited too.”

Sutcliffe is Hull’s third new signing ahead of the 2023 season which will have come as a surprise for many with the talented centre still under contract at Leeds.

Having seen the club work hard for his signature, Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson is pleased to have added another important player to the squad for next season.

Hull FC Head Coach, Brett Hodgson, said: “I’m really grateful to the club for their effort in securing Liam’s signature, it isn’t often a player of his calibre becomes an option whilst still under contract.

“We’re excited about what Liam can add to our squad – his utility value adds some real strength across the park for us being able to fill in in a number of positions when required to do so and his recent performances at centre for Leeds has showcased his quality.

“He comes to us as a proven winner with multiple honours under his belt, and to have over 200 career games at just 27 years old, he’s in the prime of his career and he will add invaluable experience to our playing squad for 2023 and beyond.

“To have made so many appearances for a club like Leeds over the last decade speaks volumes about his qualities and character.

“Along with Tex Hoy and Jake Truman, I’m pleased with our recruitment for next season so far – we’re striking the right balance between youth and experience and we’re continuing to plan ahead around the areas of our squad we feel we can improve.”

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