Jamie Jones-Buchanan interviewed Kevin Sinfield this week to ask him about some of his experiences at former clubs Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie. Sinfield served Leeds Rhinos for 18 years, winning every major honour he could’ve won in that time. In 2015, he moved to partner Rugby Union club after leading the Rhinos to the iconic Treble whilst holding the captaincy in 2015.
When first asked about how he felt after his retirement. He replied with “I felt really strange. I feel like I’ve just stepped out of a tour in Afghanistan. Thankfully, I don’t have any of the War wounds, and don’t have to face some of those things the guys that had actually been in Afghanistan had to face. But I feel like I’m in decompression. An example… My final game was this Sunday. I woke up the Monday morning straight after feeling a bit sore. I thought “Right. Where have I got to be? What have I got to do today? What kit do I need? Is my bag ready? What food do I need to eat? Then I suddenly realised… It was over.”
“I’m institutionalised. I’ve had 20 years of being told what to do, where I’ve got to be, what I’ve got to wear, how I’ve got to behave. You can’t seem to get rid of some of the instincts you develop.”
Kevin then spoke about how grateful he was to be able to retire on his own terms. Stating “I’ve finished with my body in tact… So there’s some things I want to do off the field. Run marathons, do challenges etc. At this moment in time I feel happy. I’ve been fortunate. When I look back on my career it’s been the best journey ever. I’m so satisfied and content that I got the best out of what I was given. Which in truth, wasn’t a lot.”
When asked about coaching. Sinfield immediately knew the answer. He said “My heart tells me to have a go. But my head says no, and that is being brutally honest. There are some complications. I have no regrets.”
As many know, Kevin Sinfield was the first rugby league player to be nominated for the prestigious Sports’ Personality Award of the Year (SPOTY). He went on to speak about this experience. Saying “It was brilliant. All of December, after just switching codes to Yorkshire Carnegie. Whilst trying to introduce myself in a new changing room, the whirlwind began. I was humbled to be the first ever rugby league player ever nominated. The whole month was like a political campaign. The Media Manager at the Rhinos went down every avenue he could. Took me here, there and everywhere to try and canvas for votes. Just the whole month was unbelievable.”
As it is clear to see from his abrupt response. Kevin Sinfield clearly isn’t interested in a coaching role within rugby league at the moment. However, it is certainly interesting about how he felt once retiring. Although retiring in a positive state. It is clear that Kevin will have minimal involvement with the sport for the time being, and enjoying a well earned break.