MILESTONES SEEM to be coming thick and fast at the moment.
Rob Burrow and I are having a bit of a contest to see who can get to 1,000 points for Rhinos first.
Rob’s on 993 and I’ve scored 989, so it’s pretty much neck and neck. But he’s played 62 matches more than me, so I’m ahead on scoring rate!
It’s all good fun and a bit of banter, though we have to shut up when Kev’s around because he’s miles ahead of both of us.
To rattle up 4,000 career points is an amazing achievement. Kev will do that in the next game or two and he’s now up to fourth in the sport’s all-time list of points scorers.
He could go third later this year, which is something very, very special and I feel honoured to have played alongside him for so long.
If we both stay fit, Rob and I should both get through the four-figure barrier this year – it would be nice to do it in the same game so it’s an honourable tie – and then there’ll be three of us in the side who have scored more than 1,000 points for the club.
Only 11 players have done that so far in Leeds’ history, so it’s something I – and I’m sure Rob – will be proud of, if and when we finally get there.
We’ve played the majority of our careers together – and in the same team as Kev as well – and that makes it extra special.
That said, to be honest, records and milestones don’t mean a massive amount to me at the moment and I’m sure Rob and Kev would say the same.
That’s not to say I take anything like that lightly or for granted, but I think it’s probably something you reflect on in a few years’ time, when you’re sitting in your armchair with the slippers on.
At the moment there are more important things to focus on, like keeping this season’s winning run going and hopefully collecting a few more trophies before we hang up our boots.
I didn’t realise the Hull game was my 350th until the night before. Glynn, our kitman, is good on things like that and he made sure I had a special shirt, with the 350 on it and the date of my debut and last week’s game. I was quite humbled by that and it’s something I get to keep, so it’ll make a nice memento in future years.
I wasn’t happy with my performance in the first half, but fortunately we managed to turn things around. I think I did myself justice after the break and a couple of tries was the icing on the cake.
When you start playing you never expect to get to milestones like 350 games, but I am proud to have been a one-club man and I would never want to play anywhere else.
There have been opportunities over the years, but I’ve never followed them up. In a few years’ time I might look back and wonder if I should have tried something new, but I really have enjoyed every moment of my time at Leeds and I’ve got absolutely no regrets. The end of this season will be 20 years since I joined the club and it has been a huge part of my life. It is a great club and I still go to work every day with a smile on my face and I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.
As I said in the column last week, I am starting to think about what to do after rugby and a lot depends on whether the club still think I can do a job.
There are young players, like Sutty, coming through and snapping at my heels, but I think I’ve got a few more years left in me yet.
If I had to pick out one game from my 350 as my career highlight, it would have to be the 2004 Grand Final. That was when we came of age as a group and it was the springboard for all the success we’ve had since.
It was the club’s first title for 32 years and as a Leeds lads I knew how much it meant to the club and the city.
To score the clinching try was a dream come true and it’s something I will remember and treasure forever.
BY ABOUT 10pm tonight we should have a better idea of how we are travelling this year.
The game at Warrington will be a good indicator and it is definitely our toughest challenge of the season so far.
The Halliwell Jones hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us over the past few years. We haven’t won there in the league since 2010 or at all since the 2011 play-off game, when Kev kicked that late penalty to take us through to Old Trafford.
I have got a lot of respect for Warrington and they are one of those teams who always give you a good game. Ashton Sims and Daryl Clark are great signings for them.
They have made a good start as well and I think they are only going to get better as the season goes on and their new players bed in.
As we know, Tony Smith is an outstanding coach and he has done a fantastic job there, winning the Challenge Cup three times, topping the table and getting to the Grand Final a couple of times.
They haven’t won that yet and I imagine they will be determined to put that right this year.
They would see putting an end to our winning start as a big feather in their cap, so we will have to come up with nine out of 10 performances to keep the run going.
So far we’ve been playing in patches, but we haven’t put a full game together yet. Last week we were way off in the first half, but we spoke about things at half-time, made one or two changes and we showed what we could do when we came out and ran in 43 points without reply.
That has given us plenty of confidence, not that it was lacking anyway and we will be looking to carry on from where we left off.
We know we are going to have to start better, because we can’t afford to go behind this week or we’ll have a real mountain to climb.