Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield believes victory in next month’s Gillette World Club Challenge could provide the spur to the Engage Super League champions claiming a fourth successive title in 2010.
The Rhinos meet Australian champions Melbourne Storm at Elland Road on Sunday February 28 when the inspirational loose forward expects Leeds to make amends for their defeat by Manly in the 2009 World Club Challenge at the same venue.
After being beaten 28-20 by Manly, Leeds went off the boil by losing five of their next 10 games before recovering in time to complete an unprecedented hat-trick of Engage Super League titles.
“To get beat by Manly last year was a real disappointment for all of us so to have another crack at Melbourne is fantastic,” said Sinfield.
“That defeat to Manly hurt us a lot, probably more than we envisaged at the time. We went on a losing run and our form was poor for eight weeks after that but thankfully it came good in the end and we’ve got another crack now.”
Next month’s clash of the Engage Super League and NRL champions is a repeat of the 2008 World Club Challenge which saw the Rhinos run out 11-4 victors and Sinfield is hoping the British public get behind him and his team-mates to spur them on to victory at Elland Road.
“The talk between the boys has been all about Melbourne since we won the Grand Final,” said Sinfield.
“I’m sure it will be another bruising encounter and hopefully the Leeds public and British Super League will get behind us and we can put on a show.”
Sinfield is not underestimating a Melbourne team that contains the likes of Gillette Four Nations winners Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, Ryan Hoffmann and Cameron Smith, and believes that the four Engage Super League matches prior to meeting the NRL champions will prove pivotal to the destination of the Gillette World Club Challenge trophy.
“I’ve heard some of the talk from their camp recently and they’re certainly up for it which is great because we are as well,” said the 29-year old, who was one of England’s shining lights in last year’s Gillette Four Nations.
“The games before them in Super League are really important for us to get some combinations together and get back playing well together. It’s going to be a massive challenge.”
The England International said: “I really enjoyed the Four Nations and obviously the disappointment is that you don’t get to share some celebrations with a group of guys that worked really hard in an international arena.
“But it wasn’t to be, and to be back at Elland Road does hold some special memories for most of this group and hopefully we can create some more.”
Tickets for the Gillette World Club Challenge at Elland Road on Sunday February 28 (6.30) are now available with prices starting from £20, or £10 concessions.
To purchase tickets from the RFL Ticket Office please visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call 0844 856 11 13.
Tickets are also available from the Leeds Rhinos Ticket Office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium or by calling 0871 423 13 15.