Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood said Kevin Sinfield would provide “incredible insight” after the highly-decorated former Leeds Rhinos and England captain joined the governing body in a new role as rugby director.
Sinfield, 35, finished playing rugby league last October after ending a glorious career by leading Leeds to the treble.
After then switching codes with Yorkshire Carnegie he retired early in May and – given his Masters degree in sports business – was always expected to then take up some sort of administrative role in the sport.
The RFL securing his services will gladden many in the game who feel the governing body needs greater input from those who have played at the higher level.
Sinfield will split his time between the performance and development department and the commercial, marketing and communications teams.
At Red Hall, the RFL’s headquarters in Leeds, Sinfield will lead on the review of the RFL Performance Strategy and assist in devising a four-year England 2021 World Cup performance plan.
He will also lead a review of England’s 2016 Four Nations programme, reporting back to the RFL Board.
Working closely with their commercial, marketing, communications and events teams at Media City in Manchester, Sinfield will be involved in various projects with a focus on business development, event support and post-career player development.
“I’m pleased we have been able to attract someone with the experience and calibre of Kevin Sinfield to join the RFL,” said Wood. “The 20 years Kevin has spent as a player at the very highest level of the game will provide us with incredible insight.
“Having spoken to him at length about the opportunity to work with us, I know he is determined to make as much of a difference off the pitch to the sport of rugby league as he did on it.
“This appointment is one of a number of significant executive announcements that we will be making in the coming months.”
Sinfield, who played more than 500 games for Leeds, including seven Grand Final wins, and won the 2012 Golden Boot as the world’s best player, said: “I’m delighted to be joining the RFL. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and really excited about working with some talented people.
“I’m aiming to help our sport achieve great things in the coming years both domestically and internationally. I believe it’s important for our sport to have a strong international set-up.
“With the World Cup next year in Australia and then potentially on home soil again in 2021 the coming years could be really positive for rugby league.”
It seems other players could also follow suit and add their knowledge to the RFL.
“There are some incredible personalities in rugby league who have a great mix of experience and knowledge,” added Sinfield, who starts his role next Thursday.
“Hopefully by taking on this role it will encourage other players, both former and current, who have aspirations of furthering their careers to pursue a new pathway at the RFL.”