ENGLAND captain Kevin Sinfield’s shock dismissal against Castleford Tigers did not cost Leeds Rhinos the game, coach Brian McDermott said afterwards.
Sinfield saw red for butting Tigers’ Luke Dorn in the 73rd minute, when Rhinos led 24-18.
Tigers equalised moments later, but McDermott felt his skipper was not to blame and said he had “lost it for half a second”.
“He has played hundreds upon hundreds of games,” McDermott said of Sinfield.
“He is noted for his discipline. In all those games he gets attacked and singled out.
“He’s had to deal with that throughout his career and has never breached his own discipline once.
“He has just had a brief flash in the pan incident. I don’t think Dorny is going to be walking around with bandages on his head all week.
“It’s not the worst thing, but at the same time it was the right call from the referee. There’s nobody hurting more than Kev, but he didn’t cost us the game, absolutely not. We conceded too many easy yards out of dummy-half. They have got some very good players and at this level you’ve got to be able to deal with them, which we didn’t.
“We conceded one soft try at least in the first half, but I thought Castleford were great. They are the real deal.”
Sinfield is now in danger of missing Rhinos’ Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves next month.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell made Sinfield captain when he was in charge of Leeds more than a decade ago.
“It surprised me a little bit,” he said of the Leeds man’s loss of control.
“It’s not like Kev. The game creates a bit of tension and a bit of feeling and it was a pressure game for both sides.
Powell felt his team “played really well and caused Leeds a lot of trouble”, but was angry at the video referees’ decision to disallow a Justin Carney touchdown for obstruction in the first half.
“It’s a try every day of the week,” said the Cas boss. “Ridiculous decision. They were looking for any reason they could to disallow it.”