Rhino Sutcliffe leads charge against Aussie Schoolboys

Liam Sutcliffe is among nine players with Super League experience heading into battle against the Australian Schoolboys when Leeds Rhinos’ Academy host the tourists tonight at Headingley Carnegie Stadium (KO 7pm).
The Rhinos, who will be captained by hooker Robbie Ward, will also feature Jordan Baldwinson, Elliot Minchella, fullback Ashton Golding and winger Ash Handley, as well as Irish international Robbie Mulhern.
Ward, Minchella, Golding and Handley are all part of the England Academy squad that will face the Australian Schoolboys in a two-Test series over the next fortnight.
Sutcliffe said: “Any time you get to play against an Australian touring side is a massive honour and we’re looking forward to the game.
“In their entire history they have not lost many games, probably only a handful, so we’ll be looking to create our own piece of history as an Under-19s team.
“Quite a number of us have gone on to play in Super League, but it will be great as a group to finish our Academy time together with such a prestigious game.
“I hope all the Rhinos fans can turn out to see the game, and the chance for all Rugby League fans to see the future stars of the Australian game is a great opportunity too.”
The Australian Schoolboys’ preparations for the forthcoming Test series may have got off to a perfect start last week, as they won their first two games, but coach Brian Battese admits to knowing absolutely nothing about the England side.
Battese, who won Grand Finals with Canterbury in 1984 and 1985, and who also played for Salford, will get a final look at his players at Leeds on Tuesday before the first Test at Leigh on Saturday.
“We’ll be looking to pick our strongest side to play Leeds, as we need the miles under our belts at this time of the year,” he said.
“We know absolutely nothing about the England team. I tried to get some tapes but they weren’t forthcoming. Their squad list isn’t even listed in positions, it’s in alphabetical order.
“We’ll just have to get on with it.”
Despite being run so close by Wigan – the tourists were 18-6 down at half-time – Battese is pleased with his side’s progress.
“They gave it to us for a while,” he admitted.
“I said at half-time that we couldn’t win with our handling stats and penalty count.
“Wigan were great. Even for the first 15 minutes of the second half we were in their half the whole time but couldn’t crack them. Their defence was fantastic.
“There’s a few in our side who haven’t played since June and we want to get everyone as much time on the paddock as possible.
“There are a couple of people not aiming up, but it’s starting to come together and I have the nucleus of the Test side in my mind.”