Kevin Sinfield: I almost came out of retirement to play for NRL side

By George RileyBBC Sport
Kevin Sinfield talks NRL, Leeds Rhinos and his new RFL role

Rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield said he was "very close" to coming out of retirement to play in Australia.

The ex-England captain was appointed Rugby Football League (RFL) rugby director in August after retiring with union side Yorkshire Carnegie in May.

Sinfield later held talks over a move to the National Rugby League (NRL) during a trip to Australia in May to watch a State of Origin game.

"I was very close to staying on," he told BBC Sport.

"I would have loved to have finished the NRL season, but I decided I've had my time," he added, refusing to name the club that approached him.

The 35-year-old, who is the all-time record points scorer for Leeds Rhinos, also spurned playing offers from Super League and union despite having had "no doubt" that he was fit and healthy enough to return.

Runner-up to Andy Murray in the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, he said that signing for any other rugby league side after such a long career at Leeds was never an option.

The seven-time Grand Final winner also said he does not want to coach, despite a strong desire among some Rhinos fans for him to return to the club.

He rejected the chance to join Brian McDermott's coaching staff earlier this season, deciding it was neither the right time for him nor the right thing for Leeds, who failed to defend their Super League crown.

"It would've been tough to go from poacher to gamekeeper in such a short space of time," said the club's most successful captain.

Sinfield is a fortnight into his two-days-a-week administrative role with the RFL.

"I'm not here to be popular, although I'd quite like to be popular," he said.

"I'm here to make the right calls at the right time. It's too easy to throw mud at the RFL and Super League. It's everybody's role to make our game better."

The 2016 Super League Grand Final will take place at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Saturday, 8 October at 18:00 BST. There will be full coverage on BBC Radio 5 live, and TV highlights on BBC TV.

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