Sinfield backs McDermott call

  • By: Jordan Fiddes
  • Last Updated: August 21 2014, 12:26 BST

Kevin Sinfield was quick to defend Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott's decision to name his Tetley's Challenge Cup final squad early on Monday morning.

Leeds Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield backs Brian McDermott's decision
Leeds Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield backs Brian McDermott's decision

The skipper, who has played every Challenge Cup fixture since the 2005 final for the Rhinos, said that the build-up would be different knowing the squad so early.

He said: "I remember in 2005 we didn’t find out the squad until an hour and a half before kick off because of a late fitness test to Keith Senior so this is great. It means we can all get excited together as a group.”

Sinfield is the only member of the Rhinos squad to have won the Lance Todd Trophy and he is the 13/2 favourite to make it a double this weekend.

One thing likely is that if Leeds are to win - for the first time since 1999 - then the club captain will be at the forefront of their success:

He said: "I'm excited to be getting another chance. I’m not getting any younger so I don’t know if I will get many other shots at it."

The Rhinos are the favourites at 2/5 and have a -8 handicap - a figure they defeated Castleford by earlier this season.

However, the Tigers have improved as the year has progressed and gained a well-earned point at Headingley last month.

There hasn’t been a draw in a Challenge Cup Final since 1982 but the odds on a replay this year are shorter than in recent times at 20/1.

While Castleford’s odds of 100/1 to win the Challenge Cup at the start of the season have trimmed so have those for Daryl Clark to be named Man of Steel.

He started 2014 at 50/1 to gain the individual award, but he is now 7/2 second favourite, highlighting his importance to the Tigers side.

"If you had told at the start of the season that I would be playing in a Tetley’s Challenge Cup final and fourth or fifth in the league, I’d have laughed at you” said the Tigers hooker and many would agree with him.

He's 9/4 to score anytime at Wembley and, considering he has scored 12 times already this term, these odds are appealing.

A Leeds penalty as first scoring play this weekend is also enticing at 8/1 - Sinfield opted for this in the semi-final against Warrington and, in finals, it’s something the Rhinos like to do.

Nevertheless, the try scorer markets will be popular and Tom Briscoe – the hero of the semi-final for Leeds – is 10/1 second favourite to open the scoring in the capital.

He said: "It is pretty amazing to be a part of this team and getting that try at a crucial moment in the semi-final felt very special - I hope I can have the same impact on Saturday."