Leeds coach Brian McDermott hailed his captain Kevin Sinfield after he scored 16 points in the Rhinos’ 36-16 win over Hull KR to become the third highest scorer in the history of rugby league.
The former England skipper kicked six goals and scored one of the Rhinos’ six tries to take his points tally to 4,062 on the 550th appearance of his career to climb above Gus Risman in the all-time list and now only Jim Sullivan and Neil Fox are in front of him.
Sinfield, who will quit the game at the end of the year and switch codes with Yorkshire Carnegie, is the most successful captain in Leeds history and holds the Super League appearance record.
“This is probably the 20th time I’ve spoken about Kev’s milestones and you never get bored of speaking about them,” McDermott said.
“I don’t think he ever gets bored of achieving them. It’s fantastic isn’t it? What a marvellous career he’s having.”
Leeds had to work harder than expected to see off a lively Hull KR side that made light of a host of injury absentees.
The Rhinos led 18-8 midway through the first half thanks to tries from Stevie Ward, Ryan Hall and Mitch Achurch but could never relax against a Rovers side that played their full part in an entertaining end-to-end tussle.
The visitors scored four first-half tries through Kieran Dixon (2), Ben Cockayne and Josh Mantellato but Dixon and Mantellato failed to kick a goal between them and they were kept scoreless after the break.
“That’s one thing I’m pleased about,” McDermott said. “There was a fair difference in our energy levels in the second half. We played more direct.
“We started the game reasonably well but I’ve got to give Hull KR credit, I didn’t expect them to be as energetic.”
Hull KR were unable to back up their impressive Challenge Cup win over Wigan with another major scalp but coach Chris Chester was delighted with their display.
“They are a bit down but I’ve told them they should be proud of their performance,” Chester said.
“I’m probably prouder this week than I was last week. There were a lot of great performances out there.
“We gave a debut to Stephen Holker, who I thought went particularly well, and James Greenwood really stood up in his first game on loan from Wigan.
“It was a very brave and courageous performance from my boys. We’re down on troops but we’re not down on heart and desire.
“Credit to Leeds, though, they were probably the best team overall.”
Hull KR’s injury woes continued with the loss of centre Ken Sio with a suspected broken jaw, the result of a head clash with Cockayne as they both attempted to stop Hall scoring his first try.
“He’s gone for an x-ray on his jaw,” Chester said. “It was a nasty head clash and he’s suffered concussion as well. We’re hoping it’s not serious.”