Leeds Rhinos: Stick with champions says departing legend Sinfield

Kylie Leuluai, left, Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield with their families and the three trophies won by the side this season.
Kylie Leuluai, left, Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield with their families and the three trophies won by the side this season.
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LEGEND KEVIN Sinfield bowed out of Leeds Rhinos last night with a promise to the fans that the great times will continue.

Sinfield spoke to the crowd on the pitch after last night’s 34-16 loss to New Zealand at Headingley.

Teenage full-back Ashton Golding was Rhinos’ man of the match and Sinfield told the season’s best crowd of 20,158: “We have got some great talent.

“Stick with these boys and stick with the club, there’s some special times ahead.”

Sinfield, who did not play last night due to a broken hand, has captained Rhinos to seven Super League titles, three league leaders’ shields, three world

titles and the Challenge Cup twice. He is now beginning a new career with Yorkshire Carnegie rugby union club and he said: “It has been awesome.

“To finish with the treble has been absolutely unbelievable.

“I have to pinch myself., To start here as a 13 year old boy and spend the next 22 years here is incredible. It is a special place and to spend my whole rugby league career here has been awesome.”

Last night’s game was billed as a farewell to Leeds’ retiring trio of Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai.

Peacock also sat out the game, having retired after the Grand Final two weeks ago.

“The 10 years here have been amazing,” said Peacock, who has been hailed as the Leeds club’s best-ever signing.

“I always wanted to play for my boyhood club. To get to do it, win all the trophies and bow out with the treble, at Old Trafford, is unreal.”

Peacock is set to join Hull KR as football manager. He added: “For me the last few weeks have been incredibly emotional.

“The game of rugby league has given me so much. It has shaped me as a person.”

Leuluai is the most successful overseas player in Rhinos’ history, having won five Grand Finals and the Challenge Cup twice.

He said: “I’ve had a special time the last nine years. It has been a tough nine years and I am proud to finish by playing against my county.”

Former Leeds heros Adrian Morley and Ali Lauitiiti appeared last night as guest players.

Morley said: “It was a fantastic honour and I’d like to thank Gary and the club for giving me chance to finish where I started.

“It was everything I expected it would be. Once a Rhino, always a Rhino.”

Lauitiiti led the Kiwis in a haka at the end, alongside Leuluai.

He said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to be part of this game. All credit to Leeds for doing the treble, they are a great bunch of boys and a great club.”

Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said: “It was great we performed and challenged New Zealand. We gave it a good fist and made it a contest, which was really pleasing. The whole night was fantastic, it has been great and a really proud moment for the club.”

Rob Burrow, pictured during his 500th career appearance with a specially numbered jersey in the game at St Helens in February this year. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Bowing out: Leeds Rhinos veteran Rob Burrow to retire at the end of the season