Leutele gets the shock of his life!

Cen­tre’s well-de­served el­e­va­tion to start­ing side hits him for six

Rugby League Week - - News - BY JOE MCDONOUGH

RICKY LEUTELE HAS re­vealed that he found out about his pro­mo­tion to the Sharks’ start­ing line-up for the qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal against Can­berra not from his coach, not from a team-mate, but from Twit­ter.

Ger­ard Beale was the start­ing cen­tre for 10 of Cronulla’s record­break­ing 15 suc­ces­sive wins, but Leutele has ce­mented the left-edge spot at the sum­mit of the sea­son – a fact that came as a shock to the Samoan in­ter­na­tional, who found out at the same time as the rest of us.

“I didn’t know I was go­ing to get picked to start and ‘Flanno’ didn’t even tell me,” Leutele says.

“I just saw my name in the start­ing line-up through Twit­ter, to take on Can­berra in week one. That’s how I found out.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it, and I just thought I’ve got to take this op­por­tu­nity with both hands.”

He did just that with a flaw­less de­fen­sive ef­fort against the Raiders’ dan­ger­ous right-edge, then set up a cru­cial try for his winger So­saia Feki and made four tackle breaks to help his side down the de­fend­ing pre­miers last Fri­day night.

Leutele and Beale played along­side each other as ju­niors at Souths Lo­gan for al­most a decade. And with both likely to fea­ture against the Storm, they could com­bine in Cronulla’s maiden first­grade premier­ship.

Leutele ad­mits Beale was the star grow­ing up, but he’s worked hard to peg back his great mate.

“[Beale’s] not an in­ter­na­tional player with the Ki­wis for noth­ing, so he’s def­i­nitely kept me on my toes all year . . . and that’s what’s good about this team – there’s no slack­ing off, we’ve got great play­ers through­out the whole squad and it’s not just me feel­ing the pres­sure.”

When he saw his name di­rectly un­der­neath Jack Bird’s via the Sharks’ tweet two weeks ago, he couldn’t wait to tell his part­ner Char­maine, who’s ex­pect­ing twins, and the rest of his fam­ily.

“Tonight I had my wife, my baby [Brook­lyn] and my in-laws here but I think a few more fam­ily mem­bers will come down this week so I’ll have to get some tick­ets for ev­ery­one.

“I don’t get to play in front of fam­ily too of­ten. My brother came down against the Bron­cos ear­lier in the year and my par­ents, well, I can’t re­mem­ber the last time – so it’ll be good to get them down, they’re re­ally ex­cited.”

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