Sinfield hurting after defeat
Leeds skipper hurting from World Club Challenge defeat
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 02/03/09 9:52am
Sinfield: Tough game
Leeds Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield admitted he and his team were hurting after losing their World Club Challenge title to the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.
"We went to sleep at a crucial part of the game and a quality side like Manly will punish you. But we showed lot of character to stay in there at the back end and run a few points in."
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The NRL champions defeated their Super League counterparts with an entertaining 28-20 victory at Elland Road on Sunday.
The Australians dominated for most of the match and displayed some superb handling skills and attacking pace as they looked to blow Leeds out of the water.
The match-fit Rhinos hit back late on when the visitors started to tire, but they were well worth their victory in the end - as they denied Leeds the chance to make history.
Had they successfully defended the title they won last year, the Rhinos would have been the first team to retain the trophy, and missing out was a big blow for Sinfield.
"Of course it hurts," said Sinfield. "We would have been the first team to back up.
"It's a shame we didn't throw the ball about a bit earlier because we caused them some problems late on.
"We let ourselves down in those few minutes just after half-time and we're really disappointed. I think it was a good game, a tough game, but we weren't good enough on the night."
Rhinos star Rob Burrow was passed fit for the match, but the scrum-half lasted just 15 minutes before he was knocked out by a huge hit from Anthony Watmough.
"I wanted to go on but I've had a few knocks on the head before and they thought it was best not to," Burrow said.
The Rhinos missed Burrow's influence in attack, but it was their defensive lapse just after half-time, allowing Manly to run-in three tries, which ultimately cost them.
"We were down to 16 men and doing it tough in the first half," said Danny McGuire.
"They had a lot of field possession and it took a lot of energy out of us.
"We went to sleep at a crucial part of the game and a quality side like Manly will punish you.
"But we showed lot of character to stay in there at the back end and run a few points in."
The Sea Eagles became just the third side from Down Under to win in ten attempts and stopped a run of five wins on the spin for the Super League.