Former Manly prop Adam Cuthbertson features in today's Golden Eagles 'Where Are They Now' series.
Cuthbertson played 53 first grade games for the Sea Eagles from 2006-09 and played in the 2007 Grand Final team.
Read what Sea Eagle #508 had to say about his career.
Q&A: Adam Cuthbertson
You are a Manly junior who played for the Avalon Bulldogs. What special memories do you have from junior league days?
My earliest memories would be playing in the U7s at Brookvale Oval during half-time of the Manly first grade matches. Another great memory is making the Manly Harold Matthews (U16s) team. It meant so much to me as my 'Pop', Reginald Wagner, was a die-hard Manly supporter and I remember how good it was to share that news of my selection with him. I was lucky enough to have Mark ‘Spud’ Carroll and Steve Gearin as my first representative coaches at Manly. For me personally, to have someone like ‘Spud’ as a coach was pretty special after years of watching him play for Manly, NSW, and Australia.
How much did making your NRL debut against Cronulla in 2006 mean to you and your family?
I remember pulling over on the way to Brookvale Oval as my emotions got the better of me, that’s how much it meant to play for Manly. My family were all Sea Eagles season ticket holders, so to run out on Brookie was a childhood dream. We ended up winning 20-18. I’ll never forget walking off the oval and waving to my family in the stands. I remember singing the team victory song in the sheds before celebrating with my family and friends back at Manly Leagues Club.
How did you get your nick-name ‘The Gecko’ at Manly?
It’s just one of my 999 nicknames throughout my career (laughs). It came about due to the freakishly lightning speed I possessed when running across sand. I’m not sure who came up with this, possibly ‘Snake’ (Brett Stewart), the ‘Cobra’ (Sam Harris), ‘Spider’ (Chris Hicks) or ‘Beaver’ (Steve Menzies).
We hear you had a wicked rat’s tail but it died a quick death on a Mad Monday?
Ah yes, the old rat’s tail. My choice of fashion as a young man was always very questionable to say the least (laughs). I had a few too many drinks on a Mad Monday and the boys snipped it off. At the time, I took offence to it but in hindsight, the boys actually did me a favour. My partner still hammers me to this day about my poor choice in fashion in my early 20s (laughs).
In 2007, you re-signed with the Sea Eagles on a 3-year contract. At the time, you stated finding Christianity a year earlier was the catalyst for your rise from obscurity. Tell us about that?
C3 (Christian City Church) had a huge influence on me as a young adult and does still to this very day. In professional sport today, there is a big focus on combating mental health and breaking the stigma surrounding it which is brilliant. However, in the early stages of my career, we didn’t receive too much support regarding these issues. It was more of a just toughen up mentality and to keep it to yourself, otherwise you were perceived as being soft. Due to this, I did struggle in the early stages of my career and C3 really was there for me during a tough and very crucial period of my life. To be honest, if it wasn’t for C3, I may have found myself going down a very different, dark and troubled path. C3 helped me restore my faith, focus, and love for pursuing a career in the game I love so much.
In that same year, you come off the bench in the Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Storm. How special was it to play in the big one?
Rugby league wise, 2007 was one of the most memorable years of my career. The experience of playing in an NRL Grand Final for the team I grew up supporting was all time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the result we wanted but the journey alone that year was unreal. More importantly, being able to get the club back to the big stage after 10 years (1997) created a real self belief among the squad and the community.
You played 21 matches in 2008 but didn't take the field in the finals series. What was so special about this premiership winning team?
That team was something else. I sat and watched on as 18th man during the finals. I had a number of tough chats with Coach Des Hasler as to how I could fit back in the 17 as I knew we were shaping up to achieve something special. I didn’t realise it for a number of years but it was a very harsh, painful, and valuable lesson for me missing out on that 2008 decider. I took away a lot from that season and it has spurred me on ever since, both as a senior player now mentoring the new crop of kids moving into the first team system, and also as a coach.
You played in the 2009 World Club Challenge (WCC) win over Leeds Rhinos. Is it true you held Donny Singe’s hand on the flight over from Sydney due to your fear of flying?
The WCC was an outstanding experience. It was the first trophy I won wearing the Manly jersey. It was the greatest thing ever. As for Donny, yes, it’s true. He watched over me the entire flight and he may have held my hand throughout the majority of it as well. I don’t recall to much of it though once the sleeping tablets kicked in. I have a vague memory of someone standing over me breathing heavily. I think it was ‘Gorgeous’ George Rose ordering his fifth steak sandwich.
Following your stints with Manly, Cronulla, St George-Illawarra and Newcastle, you head to Leeds on a four year deal from 2015. How have you found the Super League?
If you had told me that I’d go on to play for four NRL teams and then find myself playing it the Super League in my 30s, I would have thought you were nuts (laughs). The truth is I never saw myself playing for anyone but Manly and even till the day I left, I thought I’d eventually make my way back home to the club. I’ve been very fortunate to play for a club like Leeds. It’s a great club backed by a big city. Leeds is a very well-run organisation and has a great wealth of history. Playing in the Super League has been a great move as it has given me a chance to play some really competitive rugby league on some huge stages and create some great memories. I’ve also been able to travel the world to see and visit some places I wouldn’t have never been able to see otherwise.
At Leeds, you’ve won a Challenge Cup and two premiership titles. You have also taken up coaching. How has that been?
In 2018,I became Head Coach of the Leeds Rhinos Women’s team which has been a brilliant journey. We’ve won 2 Challenge Cup trophies, a Grand Final, and a League Leaders’ Shield. It wasn’t an easy role as during this time I was also playing, our son Kion was born, and I started an MSc in Sport Directorship. I love coaching and would like to do more of it down the track.
Tell us about your family life over in Leeds and how long do you plan to stay in England?
My partner, Cerise, and I are expecting our second child in September. We live just outside of Leeds not far from the Yorkshire countryside. At the end of each season, we have been lucky enough to either come home to the Northern Beaches or travel around different spots in Europe. Cerise has also started our own online business, El Naturals Skin Care. As for footy, I considered hanging up the boots but after chatting with a few former coaches whose opinions I trust, I’ve decided to continue playing beyond 2020. My body is feeling great. I’m still enjoying the challenge and competitive side of the game very much.
Where Are They Now series