Sinfield takes the plaudits

Kevin Sinfield with the Stobart Super League trophy

Kevin Sinfield with the Stobart Super League trophy

First published in National Sport News © by

The name of Kevin Sinfield was on everyone's lips as the Leeds captain inspired his side to a sixth Super League title in nine years at Old Trafford.

The 32-year-old produced a man-of-the-match performance in a 26-18 success over Warrington, scoring a try and five goals despite being knocked out cold by the head of Michael Monaghan. The injury clearly did not set him back too much, though, as he dusted himself down on his 78th successive appearance to climb the podium and lift another trophy.

"To borrow a line from (Leeds president) Harry Jepson, he's not the best six Leeds have had and he's not the best 13 they've had, but he's by a long way the best captain they've had," said Leeds' now dual title-winning boss Brian McDermott.

Touching on the Rhinos' 48-24 final-round loss to 12-man Huddersfield, which appeared to rule them out of retaining a title they also won from fifth a year ago, McDermott added: "You don't find out the quality of people until times are tough. It's easy when you have the momentum and back-to-back wins.

"But when you're getting murdered at Huddersfield in your final game before the play-offs, and your captain knocks on your door to give you some advice... He holds it together in tough times."

Those inside rugby league have long since acknowledged Sinfield's brilliance, but those from other fields are now starting to notice.

Wayne Rooney took to Twitter to call his performance "a joke", such was its quality, while television presenter Clare Balding admitted to being "choked up" by him.

Warrington coach Tony Smith is all too aware of Sinfield. The Australian coached Leeds to the first two of their six titles, with the Oldham-born player in the armband for both of them.

"He's a terrific player and one of the best club players I have seen over here," said Smith, whose side failed to do the double having beaten Leeds to the Challenge Cup in August.

"He contributes in a massive way, not just in his performances on the field but off it. He's a steady thinker and steady hand, he does everything right and he is a real inspiration. I'm proud to have been associated with him and to have coached him."

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