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Leeds chief lauds 'immortal' Sinfield
Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield was hailed as an "immortal" after demonstrating exceptional skill and bravery to lead his side to a record-breaking sixth Super League title.
The veteran stand-off picked himself up after an horrific clash of heads with Warrington hooker Michael Monaghan early in the second half of the Grand Final to guide the Rhinos to a magnificent defence of their crown with a 26-18 win over Warrington.
Sinfield scored one of Leeds' four tries and kicked five goals, and Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: "He never ceases to amaze. I think Kevin will go down as one of the immortals of the sport."
He added: "His achievements are quite remarkable. He's a great personality and epitomises everything about the Leeds Rhinos team."
Sinfield was badly hurt in a two-man tackle early in the match but picked himself up to create and finish the move that led to the Rhinos' equalising score, taking Carl Ablett's offload to register his first try in seven Old Trafford title deciders.
He then edged his side in front with a penalty and converted other tries by Ablett and wingmen Ben Jones-Bishop and Ryan Hall to cap a memorable 78th consecutive appearance for his club and clinch a second Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match after scooping 27 of the 33 journalists' votes.
Sinfield, who was also man of the match in 2009, has now led his side to all six Grand Final wins in just nine glorious years to confirm his status as the greatest captain in Leeds' history
"He had a great game," acknowledged Warrington full-back Brett Hodgson, who had similarly recovered from a major head knock to win the man of the match award in the Wolves' Challenge Cup win over Leeds at Wembley in August. "He's excellent at this time of the year."
Leeds fans among the 70,676 crowd held their collective breaths when Sinfield crumpled in a heap for the second time early in the second half but his team-mates remained relaxed.
"We never had any worries over Kev getting up," said hooker Shaun Lunt. "He's one of the toughest players I've played with. I can't speak highly enough of him. I never appreciated what a fantastic player he is until I got to play in the same team as him and it shows with the amount of times he's lifted that trophy."