Super League Sides Struggle With ‘Grinding’ NRL Style, Says Cuthbertson

By STEVE MASCORD

SUPER League sides struggle to adapt from their week-to-week freewheeling style to matching the grinding tactics of Australasian teams in the World Club Series, according to Leeds star Adam Cuthbertson.
In Sunday’s world title decider at Headingley, the Rhinos matched NRL premiers North Queensland for the first half but were gassed in the second as they crashed 38-4.
“It’s just a different style of football,” said Cuthbertson, 30.
“You go from playing in the Super League where we play the style of play we have to play every week, and then you go into a grinding battle with the NRL teams.
“We definitely didn’t get the best results in terms of the series over the weekend but there’s something there for improvement and growth,
“I dare say that if we (Leeds) had a full team in, it would have been a different story.”
Meanwhile, Cuthbertson does not see the appointment of Wayne Bennett as good news for his England chances.
Bennett has said he will consider any eligible player, regardless of that player’s background. Cuthbertson qualifies under the parent rule.
“It doesn’t change things, the coach,” he said.
“I’ve got to still be playing good footy to be up for selection so I wouldn’t expect to have a run just because the coach changes.
“It really comes down to how I’m playing and whether he thinks I’m the best fit for the team.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK
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World Club Series: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 38 ST HELENS 12 at DW Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD

THE overall record of expanded World Club Championship matches was left at 60-8 in favour of the southern hemisphere by this 2016 opening night mismatch – but Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson launched an impassioned defence of the concept.

The St Helens-Roosters clash at Langtree Park marked the 40th anniversary of the firsrt clash between the Australian and British champions – involving the same clubs at the Sydney Sports Ground in ’76 – and by halftime the NRL team had racked up a 22-0 lead.

World Club Challenge games were adjudged to have such potential that in 1997 the Super League competitions merged mid-season but those from the Australasia won 48 of the 56 matches played. Since the revival of the idea last year, NRL sides have been successful in all four games.

“I don’t think questioning it is a good idea. It’s about loving it and investing some time,” said Robinson following a match in which the performances of young halves Jayden Nikorima and Jackson Hastings was a feature.

“It’s awesome to go to St Helens and Wigan and Leeds.

“It’s here to stay. We want to promote the players between England and Australia. There’s some great English players down in the NRL as well.

“We have to continue the concept. The fans love it, They’re turning up.”

The Roosters’ 13-a-side season got off to the worse possible start when the kick-off in front of 14,008 fans at Langtree Park was allowed to go dead.
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But after some determined defence from St Helens the Roosters hit cruise mode, making light of the absence of Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Boyd Cordner and the departed Michael Jennings, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and James Maloney.

Boom centre Latrell Mitchell beat four players on a dime in the lead-up to the opening touchdown of the game, for prop Kane Evans, while Nikorima overcame an early head knock to star.

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham described both Nikorima and Mitchell as future superstars.

“There’s been a lot written in the last month but we’ve always been confident about what’s ahead,” said Robinson.

“I thought we came up with stuff that usually takes a few months.”

One selection surprise was the omission of Wigan recruit Joe Burgess from the Roosters squad. “He’s a very good player who will play a lot of NRL,” said Robinson.

“But he’s only been with us five or six months. He’s probably a little bit short but Latrell developed well over the off-season.”

Cunningham said: “The difference was the outside backs of the Roosters … it’s unfortunate the scoreline blew out the way it did.”

Nikorima was not made available to the media after the match.

SYDNEY ROOSTERS 38 (A Guerra 2 K Evans D Copley D Tupou S Kenny-Dowall B Ferguson tries J Hastings 5 goals) beat ST HELENS 12 (D Peyroux 2 tries L Walsh 2 goals) at Langtree Park. Referee: Ben Thaler. Crowd: 14,008