Congratulations to the Leeds Rhino’s for winning the 2012 Golden Boot Award!
You see, over the last 48 hours when certain people have tried to justify naming Kevin Sinfield as the best player in the world, they have all, without fail, pointed to the record of the Leeds Rhinos.
Even my new best friend Nigel Wiskar has gone off on another one in his latest article about me titled Another day and another moan from Down Under about Kevin Sinfield winning Golden Boot.
Now the tone of his article is unfortunate, but understandable. Some Poms are upset. This was their moment that they tried to give themselves, and how dare Australia, New Zealand, France, the United State, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and the like dare question the authorty of…who ever it was that decided the Leeds Rhinos…I mean, Kevin Sinfield is the best player in the world.
He kicks goals. Thats right…goals. He also got knocked out twice as many times as Ellery Hanley did in a Grand Final, one of the last Englishmen that could honestly claim to be a world class player.
There were 16 other players in every single game Kevin Sinfield played for the Leeds Rhinos last year. I know. I checked. I’m very thorough like that. So if the Leeds Rhino’s winning record is at the core of Sinfield being named the best player in the world, why wasn’t the same honour bestowed on say Rob Burrow or Ryan Bailey as well?
Another odd thing is that the only mention of his playing ability anyone seems to be bringing up is that he got concussed in the 2012 Super League Grand Final and kicked some goals. I’m not sure why that makes him the worlds best player but hey, I guess it helps people avoid talking about his completely average playing ability. That would just be awkward!
Over the course of his entire international career Kevin Sinfield has played in just one team that beat Australia, back in the opening game of the 2001 Ashes series. A series Australia went on to win 2-1. Even against an erratic New Zealand team he only has three wins over the course of his entire international career. The rest of his wins, the few he has experiences at international level, have come against the, at best, semi professional lineups of the likes of Russia, Fiji, Scotland, France and Papua New Guinea.
Now I know what Leeds fans and a handful of Pommy journos are thinking right now. “League Freak, how can you pin all of Great Britain or Englands lack of international success on just one player?”.
You can’t. For the same reason you can not claim a player deserves to be called the best in the world because the team he was in was successful in an inferior competition.
I think the best player in the world is Greg Inglis. The South Sydney Rabbitohs, who Greg Inglis plays for, didn’t even make the 2012 NRL Grand Final. That doesn’t make him any less of a player.
I could try to explain the power of Greg Inglis. I could talk about the relentless work of Cameron Smith. I could talk about the brilliance of Billy Slater or the ability of Cooper Cronk to pick an opposition side apart. I could talk about the touness of Paul Gallen, the magic of Johnathan Thurston or the destructive running of James Tamou. None of it could ever come close to completely describing these players and what they do week in, week out against the worlds best.
For all the English journalists that feel a sense of victory for their decision, for Rhinos fans celebrations, for the triumph that the Rugby Football League marketing department feels and for the arrogant attitude Sinfield himself showed in quotes after being embarrased with this “achievement”, none of it matters when it counts.
You see in this game, the greats are judged on what they do against the worlds best. You can go out and win in your domestic competition all you like, but there is a reason we still hail the likes of Boston, Aubert, Gasnier, Churchill, Murphy, Meninga and the like. They went out and beat the best of the best, no excuses.
With that in mind….God help a Kevin Sinfield led England team when the 2013 World Cup kicks off….
Now this will be my last say on this matter because quite frankly, its already a boring subject. Just know that like every other matter I tackle when it comes to Rugby League in Great Britain, time will prove me to be correct. When that happens, I’ll buy Nigel a pint and say “You can’t win them all mate. That’s my job”.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com