Sinfield set for landmark

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31st July 2013

Modern great Kevin Sinfield is poised to make his 500th career appearance as Leeds Rhinos look to pile on the misery for London Broncos this week.

The inspirational Rhinos captain returned to action after a six-week lay-off - and played a typically decisive role with five goals and a drop goal - in a narrow 31-24 derby win at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

The 32-year-old, who made his debut at 16, is now on the brink of another remarkable milestone in a career that has seen him become Leeds' record points-scorer and win six Super League Grand Finals.

His presence is probably the last thing the struggling Broncos need as they bid to pick themselves up from last week's Challenge Cup semi-final humbling by Wigan Warriors in the clash at Twickenham Stoop.

Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said: "For Kevin is it an incredible achievement to have reached 500 games and it is testament to the complete professional he is.

"A good example of why he has reached this landmark is how he looked after himself with his recent injury, the way he lives his life and the sacrifices he makes which ensure that if he gets injured, which is rarely, he is back ready to play sooner than most.

"I am a very lucky coach when I have got people like him in the team. Five hundred games as a half-back is incredibly hard because defensively everyone knows about Kev; everyone knows to aim a lot of traffic at him.

"He has done that all his career and he has got a few more years left in him. It is scary how many games he might play."

The match is also likely to be an emotional one for the Rhinos, coming soon after the death of their former coach Graham Murray last weekend.

Murray led the Rhinos to Challenge Cup glory in 1999 and laid the foundations for much of the success that has since followed.

The Leeds players will wear black armbands in tribute.

McDermott said: "Kev and Jamie Jones-Buchanan played under Graham and many at the club have spoken about the lasting legacy he has left at the Rhinos."

London, three points adrift at the bottom of the table, have little to play for but pride after four days of soul-searching following their 70-0 thrashing by Wigan.

The Broncos have managed just three wins in Super League all season and have conceded 820 points - 381 more than Leeds - but McDermott anticipates a better display this week.

He said: "I think we can forget about their performance at the weekend in the Challenge Cup. They will have been bitterly disappointed with that game but we won't see that type of performance from them on Thursday night.

"They will be determined to get their season back on track and finish the campaign strongly."

Leeds, who have beaten Wakefield in back-to-back games in the past fortnight, could welcome back Kallum Watkins and Ryan Bailey after ankle and thumb injuries respectively.

The Broncos have brought in centre Ryan Shaw in place of fellow loanee Rhodri Lloyd, who has been ruled out by a knee injury.

London coach Tony Rea said: "The team need to restore some pride in the shirt and themselves in a game against the champions. This game represents a challenge that they need to stand up to."

Sinfield set for landmark 2013.superleague.co.uk