Cuthbertson denies Knights' Mr Fix-it tag
Versatile Newcastle forward Adam Cuthbertson has talked down claims that he is the Knights' Mr Fix-it, insisting he just does what he is told by master coach Wayne Bennett.
Cuthbertson, who has divided his time in the forward pack between the front row, back row and even hooker this season, said he simply backs himself to do a job for a Knights side languishing close to the bottom of the ladder.
"It's hard to build consistency [playing in different positions]. I've been doing it a lot throughout my career though – but the last couple of weeks I've been playing in a similar position so I've really enjoyed it and started to get some momentum in my own game," Cuthbertson told NRL.com after Newcastle's 32-10 loss to the Penrith Panthers in Round 9.
While he is happy not to buy into the plaudits of his adaptability, the man who is capable of covering every position in the forward pack does have a preference as to where he wants to play in the coming weeks.
"Definitely not hooker," Cuthbertson laughs.
"I love playing lock – I love playing up front too and getting all them kick-offs and what not – but lock's pretty good for me because I tend to have a little bit more energy to talk to the bigger boys and point them around the field.
"It gives me the chance to throw an offload every now and then when it's needed – it wasn't needed against the Panthers, I don't think I got one out but it comes down to time and place really."
Having previously played at Cronulla, Manly and the Dragons, the now 127-game NRL veteran has arguably been Newcastle's best performer this season – producing 18 offloads and nine tackle breaks while averaging 30.6 tackles and 126.3 metres per game. But the 29-year-old can see room for improvement in both his own game and that of his team.
"I'm happy with bits and parts of my own game – I can always improve but at the end of the day it's bittersweet," Cuthbertson said.
"I'm just trying to help out as much as possible playing that third middle man and just trying to work as hard as I can to get around the field and winning my tackles a bit more I suppose."
He said a lack of intensity and execution had been letting the Knights down this season.
"We're just not seeming to go forward well and when we spread the ball we seem to making half breaks everywhere but we can't execute that last pass and at the end of our sets.
"We're not getting to our kicks and putting pressure on like everyone else has been doing to us."
With the big man punching out 100 metres by half-time against the Panthers last weekend, the challenge will become even greater this Monday night as the Knights take on the club he debuted for in 2006, the Manly Sea Eagles.
Named to play at lock for the second consecutive week, Cuthbertson will be looking to solidify his place in his favoured position against the likes of Origin hopefuls Anthony Watmough and Brenton Lawrence, with usual Knights lock Jeremy Smith pencilled in to return to the starting side in the coming weeks.