Castleford Tigers have signed Leeds Rhinos centre Alex Sutcliffe on a two-year contract with a further two-year option.
Sutcliffe, 22, came through the Leeds Academy system and has gone on to represent the Rhinos at Super League level, while he was part of the Rhinos’ Challenge Cup Final team that defeated Salford Red Devils at Wembley Stadium in 2020.
Sutcliffe’s adaptability in the middle – he can also play in the second row – will be a useful asset for incoming Tigers’ coach Lee Radford.
“I can’t wait, I am really looking forward to it and I’m itching to get going! I can’t wait to get in and meet all the lads and have a big 2022,” said Sutcliffe.
“I have always admired how Castleford play and I love the fans there. I love how vocal they are, especially down at Cas with the fans being so close to the pitch, because it is like having an extra man on the field. The fans are such a big part of it, for me.
“I have been the 18th man a few times and it is an intimidating place to go. It makes a massive difference with how loud they are.”
And Sutcliffe explains that he can’t wait to be under Radford’s tutelage.
“He obviously was a really good player,” said Sutcliffe, whose older brother Liam is also a Rhinos player.
“I like everything with the way he sets things out, so I can’t wait for him to take me under his wing and make me a physically tough player. Personally, I prefer the second-row position because you are more involved and more in the nitty gritty stuff.
“I don’t mind a bit of physicality. I pride my game on it especially in my defence, but I don’t mind playing either centre or back row.
“I have been with Leeds for eight years and have been privileged enough to win a Challenge Cup, so it’s been class. I owe a lot to them, and I have enjoyed my time.
“This season Cas have played a number of young players, and there is some really exciting talent coming through. I know Sam Hall and Brad Martin, who are young lads coming through and they look really good. It should be a good next few years for us.”
Radford admits he feels fortunate to have signed Sutcliffe.
“I’m surprised we had the opportunity to pick Alex up,” said Radford.
“He is a fantastic young player that can flip between second row and centre, but I would love for him to nail down a second-row spot.
“I think he has all the physical attributes and the skill set to be able to play there. If you go at him, he’ll whack you because he’s got a shot on him as well.
“I am over the moon to have secured his services because there is a long-term future for him at Castleford Tigers.”