McDermott pays tribute to Sinfield

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Published: Friday 1st May 2015 by The News Editor

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Leeds coach Brian McDermott praised his skipper Kevin Sinfield, labelling him a true professional for the way he handled the disappointment of being dropped.

The former England captain had been relegated to the bench for the Rhinos’ two previous Super League matches and left out altogether – for the first time for 15 years – for Thursday night’s derby at Huddersfield as McDermott paired youngster Liam Sutcliffe with Danny McGuire at half-back.

McDermott defended his selection call and insisted the stand-off will still have a role to play before he switches codes at the end of the season.

“I can understand why you’d think it’s a big call but Liam Sutcliffe and Danny McGuire have been sensational this year,” McDermott said.

“Kevin is a fantastic player and he’s a fantastic sportsman. He was not happy with the news he got given this week – he was hugely disappointed with it – but at the same time the bloke’s a pro and some of your admiration goes up.

“You admire him for what he does on the field but how he conducts himself off it, they are those special moments you can see inside the sanctum.”

Sinfield failed with a drop-goal attempt in a 12-12 draw against the Giants in the corresponding fixture in 2014 and this time it was his successor Sutcliffe who was off target with a similar effort as the Rhinos were forced to settle for a share of the points, this time from a 24-24 draw.

Huddersfield had battled their way back from 22-6 down just before half-time to edge 24-22 in front after 66 minutes thanks to second rower Joe Wardle’s second try of the match.

Sutcliffe then levelled the scores with a penalty four minutes from the end but was wide with a field-goal attempt two minutes later.

“What a dramatic finish that was,” McDermott said. “It was a really good game.

“Huddersfield were very good in the second half and stifled us of possession. When we got the ball we were too gassed to do anything with it almost.

“I’m immensely proud of what we did in that second half because Huddersfield should probably have scored more tries.”

Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson was left disappointed after watching his side fail to collect both points.

“I thought we should have won,” Anderson said. “We should have had a penalty under the sticks at the end.

“I was disappointed with the first half. I thought that was disgraceful from us – it’s the first time this year we’ve challenged their effort, I thought it was pretty steady.

“Some of them took what was said at half-time and moved it forward, which is pleasing.

“Our completion was at about 50 in the first half but it was close to 90 in the second half.”

Published: Friday 1st May 2015 by The News Editor

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