McDermott to hand teenager Rhinos debut

Teenager Liam Sutcliffe is set to make his Leeds Rhinos debut when they entertain St Helens on Monday night.

Sutcliffe, 18, has been in good form for Rhinos’ Under-19 team this season, featuring in all of their 13 unbeaten matches and scoring nine tries. 

The forward has trained with the first team for much of the season and has been 18th man for the last six games but will finally get his chance against St Helens

Sutcliffe said: “I was really nervous going into the dressing room when I first got called up to be 18th man. I have trained alongside guys like Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield but to go into the same dressing room as them was something else. 

“Seeing the guys speak to each other on a gameday and how they prepare for a game was a great experience and something that will stand me in good stead. I now know what everyone does on a gameday, what the routine is like for the team and what the coaching staff are looking for from you.”

With Peacock and Carl Ablett both sidelined through injury, Leeds head coach Brian McDermott has drafted Sutcliffe in as Rhinos aim to close the gap between themselves and second-placed Huddersfield.

McDermott said: “Liam is an outstanding prospect who has performed consistently well in the Under 19s so far this season. 

“He has been in and around the first team squad since last October and has been part of our matchday routine for a number of weeks so I am sure he will be ready tonight to take the next step up. 

“He has come through our Scholarship and Academy system and this is the next phase for him however he is a level headed lad and knows that the hard work starts now for him.”

Leeds host St Helens at Headingley Carnegie tonight in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

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