Fans roar Leeds Rhinos to Grand Final glory and historic treble

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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A thunderous roar charged across Old Trafford as hordes of Leeds Rhinos fans cheered on their team to Super League Grand Final victory.

The Rhinos sent shock waves across the country today by achieving a historic treble with a win over Wigan Warriors in front of a record crowd of more than 70,000 in Manchester.

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Thousands of excited Leeds fans made the journey across the Pennines on dozens of packed buses to watch the championship-deciding fixture.

It was a fairytale ending for Rhinos stalwarts Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield and Kylie Leuluai, whose efforts on the pitch were their last in a Leeds jersey.

The trio prompted a standing ovation from supporters as they stepped on the pitch and were given the same treatment at the final whistle when they lifted the trophy.

Ronnie Findlay, of Queenswood Drive, Headingley, said: “It’s so special to win the final, especially because the legends are leaving and it’s a great send off. The chance the treble will be repeated is so small. This has to be the best team of the decade. And in the history of the Rhinos.”

His brother Ken, who lives in Knaresborough, said: “I was relieved when the whistle blew. I couldn’t enjoy the game except for the last 30 seconds because I was so nervous. I didn’t know which way it was going to go but to win the treble is brilliant.”

Rhinos fan Andy Poleviak, from Leeds, said: “It’s a fitting send off to our legends. It felt fantastic when we won it. This Rhinos team deserves recognition for the achievement.”

Gwen Rouse, of East End Park, said: “I feel elated, I’m overwhelmed. I knew we would win. What a fantastic day.”

Chloe Hewson, 13, who watched the game with mum Michelle, of Cross Gates, said: “I’m really happy that we won. I even shed a tear at the final whistle.”

Rhinos fan Chris Lambert described the atmosphere at the moment Leeds were crowned champions as “out of this world”

Speaking from the stands after the final whistle, Mr lambert, of Howden, said: “I feel ecstatic.

“The atmosphere was out of this world, there’s noone better at it than Leeds. I feared the worst after half time but to win it with the legends in the side, nothing gets better than that.”

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Supporters Richard Wrigg, of Garforth, said he “never imagined” Leeds would complete the treble.

He said: “It’s a fairytale ending for Leeds, it’s just unbelievable. It’s a fitting tribute to the legends who are leaving us.

“Words can’t describe how it felt when the whistle went, to win the treble.

“I never imagined we’d do it. The fans have been unbelievable, it proves that Leeds fans are the best in the world.”

An emotional rendition of the traditional pre-match Jerusalem anthem and a burst of fireworks set the tone for a grandstand contest between the sides.

“Nervous” was the feeling echoed ahead of kick off, by supporters who had travelled to watch their heroes do battle with Wigan’s warriors at the Theatre of Dreams.

But after Leeds took the lead in the tie for the first time, fans began to settle and Rhinos went in at the break ten points clear of their league rivals.

An electric half time performance from rockers The Charlatans kept everyone on their feat during the interval.

Wigan hit back when play resumed and with 15 minutes to play, familiar Headingley chants were being belted out once again as the Rhinos took the lead.

With momentum at their backs and the fans roaring them on, Leeds secured their third trophy of the season.

Fans dressed as superheroes and their favourite players swamped the edges of the ground in the run up to kick off.

Pop-up stalls, games and entertainment were on offer outside the stands in the Fans’ Village to help calm nerves.

Manchester has been overwhelmed by roughly 140,000 rugby-mad fans, as England’s national rugby union team’s game against Uruguay was took place on the same day at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium

Nicola Saunders-Jones and Jack Bean who were exhibiting their fashion brand "Offend My Eyes" in Whitby for the first day of Goth Weekend.  Friday 21 April 2017. w171605a
 Picture: Ceri Oakes

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