COACH Brian McDermott today hailed Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield as one of rugby league’s modern greats.
Sinfield has signed a new four-year contract, keeping him at Headingley Carnegie until the end of 2014 – to the delight of his coach.
Said McDermott: “I wouldn’t be over-estimating things if I said I don’t think there’s been a player in Super League – or in the decade before that – who has had more influence over a club than Kevin Sinfield.
“I know there have been some outstanding players and some very influential players – you can mention Shaun Edwards, Garry Schofield and Ellery Hanley, those types of people.
“But the influence Kev has had, not just on the team but on the club as a whole, has been huge – I don’t think you can over-estimate it.”
News of Sinfield’s new contract – which replaces his previous deal which had two years to run – has been confirmed the day before Rhinos’ opening home game of the Engage Super League season against Harlequins, two sides who have won their opening two matches.
“For him to extend an already-existing contract does two things,” said McDermott.
“It excites everybody around the club, because they all like to work with Kev, who is a very good person and a very good professional. And it is an indication of the club’s ambitions that Kev is willing to put his flag to our mast for the foreseeable future.”
Headingley Carnegie’s capacity will be reduced to just 16,000 for tomorrow’s game against Harlequins, due to construction work on a new big screen at the western end of the ground. The Western Terrace will be closed for this week’s game only.