Leeds Rhinos exclusive: Jack Sinfield reveals major aim for 2024 and being inspired by the golden generation

Ross Heppenstall
Jack Sinfield Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Jack Sinfield in action for Leeds Rhinos (Alamy)

It is getting on for two years since Jack Sinfield made his Super League debut for Leeds Rhinos during an Easter Monday derby at Castleford Tigers.

Leeds lost 16-14 to Castleford in front of a bumper crowd of 9,372 and in a match televised live on Sky Sports, so there was certainly no hiding place for Sinfield.

Not that there was any suggestion he was looking.

Sinfield, then 17, played the full 80 minutes at half-back, creating a try for Rhyse Martin with a neat grubber kick and generally looking the part.

His close friend and fellow academy graduate Max Simpson also made his bow in the centres.

That Sinfield’s father Kevin, who watched proudly on from the stands at Wheldon Road, captained Leeds to seven Grand Final victories added intrigue to the teenager’s emergence.

Jack made five Super League appearances in 2022 and a further six last term, including the final four games of the season when he scored his first senior try against Castleford at Headingley.

Ahead of the new campaign, 19-year-old Sinfield told Love Rugby League at the Rhinos’ pre-season media day on Wednesday: “I’m feeling good.

“Pre-season has been quite a long one with us coming back in fairly early, but I’ve really enjoyed it and feel like I’ve made progress.

“Yes, it’s now approaching two years since I made my Super League debut alongside Max and it’s been good.

“The main thing for me, after that first appearance at Castleford in April 2022, was putting a bit of size on because I was only 17 then.

“I had to get Super League-ready and I feel I’m in that sort of position now, so hopefully I can kick on this year and get some more minutes.”

Jack Sinfield reveals major aim for 2024: Pushing for a starting half-back spot at Leeds Rhinos

Sinfield is regarded highly at Headingley, but Leeds have signed two new half-backs during the off-season in Australians Brodie Croft and Matt Frawley.

Whether or not Sinfield will head out on loan or play on dual-registration in the Championship remains to be seen.

Right now, he is focused solely on getting a first team chance under Rohan Smith at Headingley.

Having finished last season strongly on a personal note, Sinfield reasoned: “I’m not too sure what will happen yet; I think it’ll be case of playing it by ear.

“Obviously there is the reserves competition as well and I’m happy because I feel like I’m developing here anyway.

“So I’d be happy to play in the reserves and wait for an opportunity in the first team.

“But the challenge for me is to push for a place, definitely, and I’ll use Matt and Brodie to learn wherever I can.

“At the end of the day, I’ve got to fight for my spot in the team as well.

“Since my debut, I’ve been in and out of the side through injury.

“Now, though, I certainly feel I’m in a position to push for one of those starting half-back spots.

“That’s what I want to do – I want to be in the team.”

Sinfield is seen very much as ‘general’ in the scrum-half role – a player with an astute kicking game and strong organisational skills.

“I think that definitely suits the skillset that I have and that is where I see myself playing in the future, so hopefully I can get there,” he said.

His strong friendship with fellow debutant Max Simpson

Max Simpson Leeds Rhinos Alamy Max Simpson in action for Leeds Rhinos (Alamy)

Sinfield remains close to Simpson, who is working his way back to fitness after an ACL injury which sidelined him for the whole of 2023.

They spend a lot of time together away from rugby league, with Sinfield admitting his friend is ‘a lot quieter’ than himself.

“I really get on well with Max and the fact we made our debuts together only made us stronger,” said Sinfield.

“We’re really close away from the game and it’s great to see him back training ahead of the new season.”

Sinfield still commutes to Leeds from his family home in Saddleworth, meeting Halifax-based team-mates Morgan Gannon and Tom Holroyd en route.

“It’s not bad at all, and I’m used to it by now,” said Sinfield.

“I do half the journey by myself and the other half with Morgan and Tom.”

Sinfield inspired by Rhinos’ golden generation, featuring dad Kevin

Sinfield grew up supporting the Rhinos and was a regular at Old Trafford when his dad skippered the team to serial title successes.

“That team was inspirational to me growing up as a Leeds Rhinos fan,” he said.

“There was my dad and players like Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow, who all played in similar positions to where I play now.

“Growing up in that environment, and watching Leeds win trophies, only made me want to experience it even more myself.

“The focus for me now is on playing well, learning and making sure I keep getting better.”

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