Alex Sutcliffe has received a new lease of life since becoming a regular in the Featherstone Rovers side (writes Ben McKenna).
The 20-year-old, who originally hails from Wakefield, has made nine appearances on dual registration from Leeds Rhinos.
He took his try tally for the season to six last weekend as he scored twice in Featherstone’s 22-4 triumph over Widnes Vikings.
The centre admits he just wants to be playing on a weekly basis and is “loving” his time in a Rovers shirt.
I just need to play,” said Sutcliffe.
“I didn’t get many games at the start of the season at Leeds, or here.
“My confidence was a bit down. But coming here, my confidence has been lifted and it is class. I am loving it.”
Sutcliffe was up against former Super League and NRL star Anthony Gelling as Featherstone defeated Widnes last weekend.
And despite facing a player who has played in a Grand Final winning team, the 20-year-old thrived under the pressure, helping to limit the Vikings to a single try.
“Gelling was a big spot for us, so I had a big job on my hands,” Sutcliffe continued.
“I thought I had a lot of pressure on my shoulders because he is world class.
“He has played NRL and Super League so I knew I would have my hands full.
“But I knew I had to do my job for the team and that the boys would help me.”
He added: “It was a massive win, all the lads were buzzing with everything. Our defence was class and so was our attack.
“We are looking to build each week, six wins on the bounce is massive.
“We are growing in confidence each week and we are just looking to keep building.”
The Leeds centre is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Rhinos outside back Harry Newman.
Newman made 18 appearances, six in 2019, for Featherstone before establishing his place in the Leeds line-up.
The lightning-quick centre scored 21 tries while playing for Rovers and Sutcliffe feels he can follow a similar path.
“Harry is doing class, he is a class player and he has a really bright future ahead of him,” Sutcliffe added.
“So, I am just looking to do the same here; stamp my name in the team and then hopefully progress into Leeds.”
Featherstone host Barrow Raiders this weekend, aiming to make it seven wins in a row in the Betfred Championship.
Second-placed Toulouse travel to Canada to take on Toronto Wolfpack, meaning Featherstone could go second on Sunday, if Toulouse are defeated.
And Sutcliffe sees no reason why Featherstone cannot make a real stab of the play-offs.
The centre added: “They have got a great side all the way through the team and through the backroom.
“It is a great club, and I just looking forward to what the future holds.”