WE are very privileged to have two MBEs in our ranks!
The only problem is we’re not sure which one to call Sir and which one is Lord.
Seriously, congratulations from everybody in the team to Kevin Sinfield on his honour.
Following in the footsteps of Jamie Peacock a couple of years ago it is great recognition for the Rhinos and our sport, but most of all it is fantastic for Kev and his family.
Rugby league often gets ignored when it comes to honours, so that makes it a bit extra special when one does come along and it is thoroughly deserved by Kev, just like JP’s award was.
They have both done a great deal in the game, captained their club and country and are good role models not just for young players coming through, but for young people in general.
They are also good blokes, which counts for a lot in rugby league. I class them both as really good friends and they are two of the best players I have played with or against.
I found out about Kev’s MBE at the same time as everybody else, when the media broke the news last Friday.
From talking to JP, he said he was asked a couple of weeks before if he would accept and then had to keep the news top secret until it was officially announced.
It will have been the same for Kev and I am amazed they both managed to keep something like that quiet in the environment we have.
Everybody in Leeds knows what Kev has brought to the team and the city over the last 17 years and it is good he is getting wider recognition now.
As a player, he is top class. He is one of the most professional people I have ever come across and the way he looks after himself and behaves on and off the field is outstanding.
I have played with him for more than a decade and at half-back alongside him for the last few years, so I like to think I know him as well as anyone,
He is remarkably consistent and he steps up in big games, when it really counts.
He is very tough as well, which is something people don’t really appreciate about him.
Off the field, he likes the craic and he is always in the middle of the banter, but he’s one of those people who, when he talks – everybody else listens. He is fantastic in training and he’s always willing to help young players and pass his knowledge on.
I think the fact he has been captain of his team for more than 10 years says a lot about him. That is a remarkable achievement, especially at a club like Leeds.
There’s a lot of pressure at this club, on everybody, but especially the captain. He is the one who has to face the media and take the flak when things go wrong and Kev has coped with that brilliantly.
He isn’t a shouter or a bawler – I do more of that than he does.
He is quite a calm leader, but if a rollicking is needed he is not shy in coming forward.
Of course all that won’t stop the boys taking the mickey out of him whenever we get the chance – although we’ll probably give it a rest if JP is around too.
Bulls have got it wrong over sacking of Cummins after turbulent period
I WAS gutted for Francis Cummins when I heard he had been sacked by Bradford Bulls.
Rugby is a cruel business and clubs have to take tough decisions sometimes, but I think they have got this one wrong.
It seems harsh first of all because of what Franny has done for Bradford and what he’s been through over the past couple of years.
With one thing and another he has had it tough ever since he took over at the start of last season.
If you look at the squad he began the year with - including the likes of Garreth Carvell, Jarrod Sammut and Nick Scruton - Bulls would have been in with an outside chance of finishing in the eight.
But he’s had to cope with the loss of key players and the ones who have come in to replace them haven’t been of the same standard.
This is no disrespect to the loan players he had, but they were allowed to go on loan for a reason.
It must also be tough when you are relying on loan players, because they can get recalled at short notice, which has happened a few times.
Franny has had to cope with a lot of adversity and he - along with Lee St Hilaire - showed great loyalty to the Bulls.
Sometimes clubs who are struggling sack a coach to provoke a reaction from the players, but I think even Wayne Bennett would struggle to get better results than Franny has done this year, with the same resources. It is strange they haven’t got somebody lined up to take over. It is a pressure job and in the situation Bulls are facing at the moment, I can’t imagine too many people sticking their hand up.
They still have a mathematical chance, but they are going to have to win most of their last 11 games to stay up and that is a very tall order, especially with only four victories from their first 16.
Another of my old team-mates Matt Diskin has been made player-coach for tonight’s game against Hull KR and I wish him all the best. I thought it was classy of him to say he didn’t think the decision to sack Franny was the right one.
I know Disk will prepare the players the best he can. He has done some coaching at Dewsbury Celtic, but he has got a lot of business interests outside rugby and I doubt he’ll be interested long-term.
I’m feeling confident over return
I AM hoping to be available for Sunday’s game at Widnes Vikings.
I have missed the last two games because of a calf injury, but it is feeling better every day and I am confident I will be good to go this weekend.
There’s still a few boxes to tick, but I have been working with the physios and I am keen to get back out there.
Widnes’ artificial pitch is maybe not the ideal place to come back from the sort of injury I’ve had, but if you are fit, you are fit and I am confident if I get all all clear there won’t be any problems.
It is a big game in itself after our recent results and we need to get on a winning run now. There’s some very important games coming up and I want to be involved in those. Injuries are always frustrating and when the team’s struggling a bit you want to get out there and do something to help.
It will be hard for Widnes, backing up from Wednesday’s game against Wigan, but - apart from their last few results - they have been in good form this year, they are tough to beat on their own pitch and we will have to play well to get anything out of it.