Kevin Sinfield comment: Club legend's exit sad for Leeds Rhinos and rugby league
Kevin Sinfield's departure from Leeds Rhinos is sad for the club and rugby league.
The term ‘legend’ is overused, but Sinfield fits the bill perfectly.
The third-highest points scorer in the sport’s history, he is Leeds’ - and probably rugby league’s - greatest captain and one of the code’s finest ambassadors.
Both an MBE and OBE, he is a former Golden Boot winner and runner-up in the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year voting.
Rugby league doesn’t have the profile it deserves, but - largely because of his incredible fund-raising efforts for his former teammate Rob Burrow and the fight against motor neurone disease - Sinfield has crossed over from local hero to national icon.
His three years as Leeds’ director of rugby have been tough.
He came into a chaotic situation with Rhinos struggling to avoid the drop and it certainly wasn’t a case of everything immediately coming up roses.
But the club is in a better state now.
Despite the pandemic and some factors outside his control - for example, Trent Merrin’s personal situation and career-ending injuries to Stevie Ward and Dom Crosby - Rhinos are heading in the right direction.
They won a trophy last year and have an outstanding crop of young players in or on the fringes of the first team.
Unfortunately, Sinfield will be in a new job on the coaching staff at rugby union giants Leicester Tigers when his hard work comes to fruition.
Sinfield has made it clear his director of rugby role has changed since he rejoined the club three years ago.
He wants more involvement with the performance side of things, understandable as he is wasted dealing with admin', but Leeds have been unable to come up with a suitable position.
While the man is leaving the club and sport, they won’t leave him.
He will remain an ambassador for Rhinos and rugby league - and may now have a better platform to express that - but it’s a sad fact there are far more and better opportunities in rugby union.
League can’t afford to lose people of Sinfield’s calibre and must find ways of hanging on to its greatest assets.
Still, now he’s heading for rugby union, at least he might finally get that Knighthood!
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