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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Could young Cain prove able to hold on to No 7 shirt?

IN a week dominated by the enduring exploits of Leroy Joe and Wath Brow Hornets for their latest magnificent achievement I can’t help wondering whether Whitehaven might have unearthed a gem whose roots are deep in the amateur game.

Not from West Cumbria this time but from the junior ranks of Castleford, another hotbed of rugby league talent, amateur and professional.

The name’s Cain Suthernwood.

For the past couple of years this young Yorkshireman has been striving to make the not inconsiderable step up from amateur to professional RL at the highest level with Super League Bradford Bulls, before than Wakefield Wildcats.

Injury halted his Bulls’ progress last season restricting his appearances at Odsal to the U20s but with all Super League clubs scrapping their sides at that level and Bradford cutting their cloth according to their means after going into administration, young Cain was left to look elsewhere.

It came right out of the blue and Whitehaven was his choice. He’s signed on for a year and is determined to fulfil his potential and help Haven make a real go of it in the Championship at the same time. Opportunity certainly knocks for young Mr Suthernwood – and it could be a golden one.

Someone soon has to grab Haven’s No.7 spot by the scruff of the neck – and hang on to it.

Another young man, Gregg McNally, looked for all the answers but the Kells boy couldn’t stay that long – perhaps he wishes now he had. Who knows.

Scrum half was never a problem down the years, from Billy Banks, Jackie Reed, Tommy Keen, Harry Maddison to Boxer Walker, Kiwi great Clayton Friend and in more recent times to the likes of John Duffy and Joel Penny. And of course Smokin’ Joe was around to fill in where necessary although Leroy worked most of his magic for Haven at stand off which didn’t prevent him putting on a Grand Final man of the match performance for Hornets in No.7 shirt.

Oh I’ve missed someone – Sam Obst.

Which brings us on to the interesting fact that Aussie Sam just happens to be a bit of a hero for Cain Suthernwood.

For Cain tells me that when he turned professional as a 16-year-old (for Wakefield), Sam had already made his move from Whitehaven to The Wildcats.

Cain was too young to get to play with Sam but he told me: “I trained with him a lot and he taught me a lot.”

Obst, recently returned Down Under, is a bit of a folk hero at Whitehaven – for many he’ll rate as one of the best No.7’s to wear the chocolate blue and gold.

If some of his dynamism ands cock-sure ability to break a defence has rubbed off on Suthernwood then Haven will have a gem.

Cain has great confidence in his own ability to take on a defence, make breaks and he definitely wants to score tries and win for Haven.

And he reckons he might have the best chance of doing that in tandem with Jamie Rooney – another halfback he also greatly admires.

It’s not a given – new team boss Dave Woods wants competition to keep his players on their toes. “We must make sure we play well as a team and then individuals will get their reward, it’s also a chance for our young guys to put themselves in the shop window and get into Super League.”

Locally one young (amateur) gun Karl Dixon is catching all the attention just happens to proudly wear the colours of Wath Brow Hornets who over the years have unearthed so many gems for the Cumbrian professional game and beyond.

Haven would love to sign the 19-year-old England Lion (Leroy Joe became a timely halfback mentor), so too would a few Championship rivals, not to mention Super League clubs.

He’s hot property.

But for now I can’t help wondering whether it might just be a case off Play It Again Sam down at The Recre – in the guise of Cain who we hope will prove more than able!

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