Adam Cuthbertson believes the Challenge Cup hands Leeds Rhinos the perfect opportunity to regroup following a turbulent start to the season.
Leeds’ defence of the Challenge Cup begins on Friday as they take on Huddersfield, who condemned the Rhinos to their 10th defeat in 13 Super League matches last week.
Cuthbertson has enjoyed nothing but success in the competition since joining Leeds at the beginning of 2015, helping his team win the trophy last year on the way to a historic treble.
Things haven’t gone quite to plan this year, however, with Brain McDermott’s side currently bottom of Super League. Taking that into account, Cuthbertson believes the opportunity to focus their attentions away from league action will be a big lift for his struggling side.
“The cup is absolutely great,” Cuthbertson told The Guardian. “I didn’t know too much about it last year coming into Super League for the first time. It’s a breath of fresh air for our season because it’s a different focus for us, it’s a knockout game and it really tests your character, to see if we can put the last few months behind us.
“It can be a springboard for your season. Games like these can boost morale for the group and it creates hope and possibility that something special can happen.”
Following a long spell in the NRL, the concept of the Challenge Cup was something Cutherbertson hadn’t experience at the top level of the game.
“I’d never really played in anything like it back home since I was at school,” he said. “It’s a great concept and I love it; I got to be involved in the final last year and the journey to that game was something very special.
“It was one of the standout moments of my career so far. You don’t get it back home and the gaps between games builds the excitement and builds the tension for them. It’s a very exciting competition and one I love.”