After being linked with a move to Hull FC for the past few months, Liam Sutcliffe’s transfer to the MKM Stadium has now been completed.
Having come through the youth system at the Leeds Rhinos, it has come as a shock for most people especially considering the fact that Sutcliffe has played over 200 games for the West Yorkshire club since debuting in 2012 and that he still has two years left on his contract after signing a three-year deal in 2021.
Sutcliffe played in the winning 2017 Grand Final and 2020 Challenge Cup winning teams as well as being a key member of the 2015 treble winning side before a knee injury ruled him out of the latter stages of that season.
He was capped for England in 2018 against France having previously played for the England Knights. So far this season, he has scored eight tries in 19 appearances.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington revealed why Sutcliffe will depart Headingley: “Liam has served the club so well and he will continue to do so for the rest of this season. He has been offered a long term contract by Hull FC and his departure will allow some flexibility with our salary cap for next season. He will leave with the very best wishes of everyone at the Rhinos.”
Obviously, security in such a short career is paramount and it is clear that Sutcliffe felt that longevity was more likely with the Black and Whites than at Leeds.
It also gives Rohan Smith more money to juggle with on the salary cap after it has been well documented that Leeds are having to move players on in order to bring in more of Smith’s desired personnel.
That has seen the likes of Toulouse Olympique prop Justin Sangare and Wigan Warriors product James McDonnell sign on the dotted line for the 2023 Super League season.