Leeds pull off another Final miracle

Warrington Wolves 18 Leeds Rhinos 26: Sinfield and Ablett inspirational as Rhinos make it five wins in six finals and leave Wolves licking wounds

old trafford

Experience trumped desire at Old Trafford as Leeds claimed an astonishing fifth Super League Grand Final triumph in six years.

The Rhinos' captain, Kevin Sinfield, was named man of the match for his 14 points from a try and five goals, but the performance of Carl Ablett and the work-load that he imposed on Lee Briers was an equally big factor as Leeds avenged their Challenge Cup final defeat in August.

This was as a far better game than that earlier showpiece. It was fiercely contested but enterprising and entertaining at the same time.For Leeds to have won the title once from fifth place was remarkable; twice in a row almost amounts to consistency.

"We rewrote history last year," said an emotional Leeds coach, Brian McDermott. "We were under pressure every match this time, but when it gets tough they come into their own."

It was the Old Trafford know-how of Leeds against the Grand Final hunger of a Wolves side that had never been there. There were no surprises in the team selections, with the warm favourites Warrington fielding an unchanged 17 and the Rhinos bringing back Danny McGuire following his one-match suspension.

It was the Wolves who had the better of the early stages of an adventurous first half, in which both sides were willing to throw the ball around from the start.

It was not long before Warrington got their reward, Richie Myler taking a pass from Mick Higham and finding the sort of gap in the defensive line that should not have been there in the first four minutes of a major final.

Leeds thought they had an equaliser, but Sinfield's pass to Ryan Hall was ruled forward. Leeds' tactics towards the Wolves' orchestrator-in-chief, Lee Briers, were clear enough, running at him repeatedly to force him to tackle as much as possible, with Ablett twice tackling him fractionally after he had kicked the ball.

That did not stop Briers from creating an opportunity for Joel Monaghan with a peach of a pass, but the winger's kick-ahead bounced unluckily.

The game changed its complexion over the next five minutes, starting with Sinfield's kick for the corner which evaded Monaghan. Ablett grabbed it and had the presence of mind to flip it to Sinfield, following up his own kick to score.

Sinfield's conversion put Leeds level and his penalty put them ahead. Their key moment, however, came when Mike Cooper was penalised for a high tackle on Brett Delaney and Leeds moved the ball rapidly to the right, through Jamie Peacock, Sinfield and McGuire, for Ben Jones-Bishop to get outside Chris Riley and score. Sinfield's kick made it a handy eight-point lead.

In the minutes before half-time, the Wolves began to find their form. Briers' long pass to Monaghan was perfect and his conversion and penalty when Jamie Jones-Buchanan strayed offside levelled the scores at the interval.

They hit the front on 44 minutes, after Zak Hardaker lost the ball – albeit in a questionable tackle. Warrington seized their chance, Ryan Atkins taking Brett Hodgson's pass and wrestling his way over in the corner.

Sinfield had taken a late knock from Michael Monaghan and then went through an understandably quiet patch. Leeds kept the pressure on, however, and they edged ahead when Briers went high on Ablett and their personal duel continued with the Rhinos' centre going through his tackle on the try-line, Sinfield adding the goal.

Warrington were making too many handling mistakes to get back into the game, and eight minutes from time, Leeds showed them how it should be done. McGuire threw the ball wide and Ablett continued his eventful evening by drawing the defence expertly and putting Hall over for the score.

Sinfield maintained his faultless play-off goalkicking by landing the conversion from the touchline for a tally of five from five, making it 21 successes in a row for the inspirational leader.

"They were the better team on the night," conceded the Warrington coach Tony Smith. "It was a good, tough Grand Final, but we probably lacked a bit of discipline on our try-line. I thought our defence was enormous there tonight but if you just don't quite do things right or you give away that next penalty, that's tough work."

He added: "We're hurting there, we've talked about it but we've had a terrific season. This will drive us."

Smith also paid tribute to Sinfield, whom he coached while he was in charge at Leeds. "He's one of the very best club players of my whole time over here," Smith said. "He's a real inspiration to them and he handles it all with dignity and class.

Warrington Wolves Hodgson; J Monaghan, Ratchford, Atkins, Riley; Briers, Myler; Hill, Higham, Harrison, Waterhouse, Westwood, Grix. Subs used M.Monaghan, Wood, Morley, Cooper.

Leeds Rhinos Hardaker; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Ablett, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Bailey. Subs used Kirke, Lunt, Griffin, Ward.

Referee R Silverwood (Mirfield).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'