LIAM Sutcliffe is hoping for a ‘crazy’ end to his Leeds career – one without Aidan Sezer.
The Rhinos star bids farewell after Saturday’s Grand Final before joining Hull FC.
And if they manage to surpass St. Helens 5-0 in the showpiece, rest assured he’ll pinch himself in their first meeting in the game since 2011.
Relegation looked more likely earlier this season but Rohan Smith’s appointment as manager has changed things and they are now just one game away from winning the title after finishing fifth.
Now center Sutcliffe, one of several players leaving Headingley, is dreaming of a fairytale send-off after believing the lessons he’s learned will stand him in good stead.
The 27-year-old said: “Tom Briscoe and I talked about it quite a bit and said, ‘How crazy would it be if we got to the Grand Final?’ Now it’s like, ‘We’re here now and how crazy would it be if we won it?’
“It would be crazy, absolutely crazy. Saying where we were at the start of the year with everyone betting on relegation and things like that – being 80 minutes from victory was a bit crazy.
“Rohan added parts but just calmed the place down. There was probably a bit of anxiety on site as we weren’t doing too well but he brought a real calm to the group.
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“No one imagined the impact it would have. At the beginning of the year we were in pretty bad shape. If you had said back then that we would be in a grand final, nobody would have believed you.
“But the character that was built earlier in the year and has been through so much adversity can help you move on. Looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change what we went through as it helped us along the way.
“A lot has happened in the last five years.
“After winning the 2017 Grand Final, bottom of the league, winning the Challenge Cup and flying back to bottom of the league, it was a little crazy.
“If we win, I don’t know if I would cry with sadness or happiness, but I’m happy with the decision that was made.”
Leeds must deny St Helens a fourth consecutive title without Sezer, who was suffering from concussion symptoms when he was beaten late by John Bateman in the semi-final win at Wigan, for which he was rightfully sent off.
Smith said: “Category 1 concussion symptoms are the determining factor in returning to the game. Aidan will not be available, he is devastated.”
Harry Newman has been left out of both the Grand Final and England’s World Cup campaign, while Morgan Gannon will definitely miss Old Trafford.
David Fusitu’a and Ash Handley are described as “highly unlikely” to play against St Helens.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6251231/liam-sutcliffe-leeds-grand-final-old-trafford/ Liam Sutcliffe is aiming for a ‘crazy’ end to Leeds career – winning the Grand Final