Super League: Leeds Rhinos help struggling rival Bradford Bulls with loan signing of stand-off Liam Sutcliffe
The teenager will spend the next months with the Bulls, who are experiencing a period of extreme financial difficulty
Tuesday 04 March 2014
Leeds have come to the aid of struggling neighbours Bradford by loaning them teenage stand-off Liam Sutcliffe.
The 19-year-old Sutcliffe, who played in the Rhinos' opening win of the First Utility Super League season at Hull KR last month, has agreed a month's loan deal with the Bulls.
Sutcliffe, who burst onto the scene last season with seven tries in 18 appearances, will plug the gap created by an injury to Lee Gaskell, the former Salford and St Helens stand-off who is facing a lay-off of up to 12 weeks with a knee injury.
Bradford also lost Australian half-back Jarrod Sammut to Wakefield during the club's much-publicised financial difficulties.
"Liam is a hugely-talented player and we are delighted to have him on board," said Bradford coach Francis Cummins.
"He offers us another dimension, both at half-back or even at loose forward, and we expect him to improve our team.
"Our current predicament is being well documented and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Leeds Rhinos for offering us a helping hand.
"It is a great gesture and, in return, we hope to offer Liam further Super League experience and even more exposure."
Sutcliffe was on stand-by for Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield ahead of last week's match against Catalan Dragons and Rhinos coach Brian McDermott, a former Bradford forward, is happy for the player to get game time.
"We were approached by Francis, regarding Liam, and we are happy for him to go to the Bulls for a month," said McDermott, who is also expected to loan winger or full-back Ben Jones-Bishop to Wakefield.
"Francis remains a good friend of the club and we know that Liam will be in good hands.
"We saw last season how much Liam developed from the game time he had and this is a great opportunity for him to continue that development.
"As with the other five young players we have away from the club this season, this is a key part of their future progress and the next stage of our development as a club and I am sure Liam will grab the chance with both hands."
Sutcliffe, who is set to make his Bradford debut at Hull on Friday, is their third loan signing in a month.
The recruitment of forwards Glenn Riley (Warrington) and Anthony Mullally (Huddersfield) has helped offset the loss of Garreth Carvell (Hull) and Nick Scruton (Wakefield), who left during the club's planned change of ownership.
The Bulls are back in administration following the withdrawal of directors from Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd and prospective buyer London-based businessman Richard Lamb is due to hold more talks with the Rugby Football League on Tuesday after meeting the administrators on Monday.
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