Kevin Sinfield: The Greatest professional the sport has ever seen

29 Mar 20, 8:21AM 0 Comments

Written by Callum Walker

Photo by Getty Images

The successes of Kevin Sinfield know no bounds. Debuting as a youngster for Leeds Rhinos aged just 16, Sinfield went on to register a remarkable 3,968 points in 521 appearances for Leeds and became a pivotal figure in the Rhinos’ Golden Era, captaining Leeds to seven Grand Final victories, back-to-back Challenge Cup triumphs, three League Leaders’ Shields and three World Club Challenge successes.

As he became such an influential figure for Leeds, Sinfield inevitably won representative honours, appearing four times for Lancashire and winning 40 caps for England and Great Britain. He captained his country in the 2013 World Cup and remains England’s highest points scorer with 202 points. Meanwhile his career total of 4,231 points – from 569 matches – put him third in the all-time points list, behind Neil Fox and Jim Sullivan.

Individually, Sinfield’s achievements are remarkable. The loose-forward, who won the 2012 Golden Boot – the award for the world’s best Rugby League player – holds the Super League record for most appearances, goals and points and was the league’s top points scorer in 2004.

His superb performances in big games during his career meant he received one Lance Todd trophy (2005), two Harry Sunderland trophies (2009 and 2012) and appeared four times in the Super League Dream Team (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009).

Not only is Sinfield Leeds’ record points scorer, the loose forward is also the only captain to have led a team to three consecutive Super League titles (2007, 2008 and 2009). A truly sensational leader on and off the field, Sinfield bowed out in 2015 having guided Leeds to a stunning treble.

Sinfield also earned recognition outside of the sport in 2014 when he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours list and finished second behind Andy Murray for the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, a result that surprised him.

In honour of his friend Rob Burrow – diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in December 2019 – Sinfield completed his own personal marathon recently. The former Rhino mapped out his own 26.2-mile route, starting in Saddleworth, after the Manchester Marathon was cancelled.

He completed the run in 3 hours and 18 minutes – his personal best – with a total of over £4000 raised. A captain’s knock indeed, thousands of messages flooded in to congratulate the ex-Leeds man on what he had achieved.

If ever there was two men that epitomised the sport of Rugby League it’s Sinfield and Burrow. One the ultimate professional that has been hailed as the best ever and the other a sportsman that defied all expectation to realise his dreams. Together, they made a sterling partnership on the field, but they made an even greater one off it. And, it’s brilliant and heartwarming to see.

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