Super League debut for 17-year-old Jack Sinfield

GRASSCROFT’S Jack Sinfield revealed how he overcame pre-match nerves to make an encouraging start to his Leeds Rhinos career in the Betfred Super League.

The 17-year-old son of Rhinos’ legend Kevin Sinfield was handed his competitive debut on Easter Monday along with fellow teenager Max Simpson as the Rhinos travelled to West Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers.

Jack Sinfield

An early misplaced pass perhaps underlined those nerves he was feeling, but Sinfield grew into the game and was even on hand to provide an assist for Rhyse Martin with a clever kick in the 16-14 defeat.

“I was really nervous,” Sinfield told Sky Sports afterwards. “Obviously, I didn’t know I’d be playing against a full team of men.

“I know I’ve played a bit of reserves, but that’s only half a team [of men], really. I was really nervous, but as soon as I started, I felt alright.

“I thought I built into the game, the lads were great and looked after me, and made sure I was alright, so I can’t thank them enough really.”

Half-back Sinfield joined the Rhinos from Saddleworth Rangers last summer and played in the pre-season match against Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.

The former Saddleworth School student came into the team fresh from kicking the winning drop goal in the Under-18s 23-22 win over Wigan Warriors and had the same number 32 shirt his father wore on his own Leeds debut as a 16-year-old against Sheffield Eagles in 1997.

Sinfield kept his place for the home win against Toulouse four days later in the continued absence of Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin.

It is proving invaluable experience for the teenager who is aiming to improve with every game.

“I’m really enjoying it,” Sinfield said. “I’m loving my rugby at the moment, so hopefully that carries on.

“Hopefully I’ll just keep learning and growing, and then hopefully I can bring a bit of stability in the halves, making sure we finish our sets in the right places, and completing our sets, really.”

Interim head coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan predicted a bright future for the son of his former Rhinos team-mate after handing him his first Super League appearance.

Sinfield snr, a seven-time Super League Grand Final winner, was among the 9,372 crowd at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle to watch his son create both a try and a fine impression despite being on the losing side.

Jones-Buchanan gave a chance to the youngster in the absence of six injured backs and was delighted with what he saw.

“Whilst he’s not somebody you want to be playing every week because of his age, he’s definitely ready to dip his toes in the deep end,” he said.

“I thought he was exceptional for 80 minutes. He played a big part in that first-half try and came up with some real nice moments.

“His game will get perfected in seasons to come and, God willing, much like his dad, he will lift lots of trophies.”

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