Leeds Rhinos prospect Jack Sinfield sets twin goals for 2024, predicts new-look team will bounce back
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Sinfield, who turned 19 in September, started Rhinos’ final four matches of 2023 after number seven Aidan Sezer suffered a season-ending concussion in training. He also made one start and a substitute appearance earlier in the campaign, taking him into double figures for senior games since his debut last year.
He ended on a high, scoring his first try and producing his best Betfred Super League performance so far in Rhinos’ 46-0 final round win over Castleford Tigers. That gave him something to build on in pre-season, but he accepts he is still in the rookie stage of his career and is prepared to bide his time.
Rhinos have been cautious not to rush Sinfield’s development and he insisted he is happy with that, as long as he keeps “learning and getting better”. Of his ambitions for 2024, he said: “I’m still taking it step-by-step.
“I’m still young so it’s a case of getting minutes when I can, keep learning and keep getting better. That’s the main thing and I’ll see where I end up at the back end of the year. I am really enjoying it [being part of Rhinos’ full-time squad]. It is what I dreamed of doing as a kid.”
The final month of last season was Sinfield’s first run of games at the top level and he reckons it was valuable experience, despite some poor results. Leeds beat Hull FC and Castleford either side of drubbings by Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons and Sinfield reflected: “It was nice to get a few games at the back end of the year.
“A few results didn’t go the way we wanted, but I feel like just being out there and getting the minutes is going to be beneficial in the long-run. The game against Cas gave us a starting point for next year. We had two disappointing results before that so to finish on a high was good for the group and a good way to finish the year. It was a special moment for me, especially after the few weeks before which were disappointing. It was nice to finish that way, on a good note.”
Rhinos are now in their second week of pre-season. New signing Kieran Hudson was there from the first day and big-name recruits Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers joined in last Monday.
“It has been good,” Sinfield said of the first few days of preparations for 2024. “We’ve had a pretty similar group to the one we had last year so we’ve been able to pick up where we left off.
“We are doing a lot of gym and a lot of off-feet conditioning. On the field it has been pretty skill-based stuff, working on little bits of skill rather than team stuff as obviously we haven’t got a full squad at the moment. It’s exciting when you get new people coming into the squad, especially when you know they can add something to the group. I am looking forward to getting to know them.”
Sinfield will be back up to Croft and another Australian, Matt Frawley, who could arrive at Leeds next week. He stressed: “They are both very experienced so I will pick up what I can from them, keep learning and getting experience as well.”
The addition of players of the quality of Croft and Ackers has raised hopes Rhinos will be back among the title contenders next year after their disappointing eighth-placed finish last term. Sinfield admitted: “Last year didn’t go as planned, but I think this year we’ve got a good group and some exciting signings coming in. I think it’s looking positive.”