Leeds Rhinos 18 Hull FC 16: Coach McDermott salutes his semi-final heroes

Winners and losers - Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos players at the end of their epic semi-final
Winners and losers - Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos players at the end of their epic semi-final
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BOSS BRIAN McDermott saluted a “huge achievement” after Leeds Rhinos beat Hull 18-16 to qualify for their 10th Super League Grand Final.

Rhinos – who finished ninth last year and flirted with relegation in the Qualifiers – will face league leaders and neighbours Castleford Tigers at Old Trafford a week today.

Garteh Ellis and Danny McGuire at full time.

Garteh Ellis and Danny McGuire at full time.

McDermott had predicted after Rhinos’ record 66-10 defeat at Castleford Tigers in March, Leeds could reach the Grand Final.

It will be his fourth title decider in seven seasons as Rhinos’ coach.

An emotional McDermott said: “The job’s not done and if we don’t win next week it’ll hurt, but I think that’s a huge achievement from the players who have endured huge ridicule and things written about them.

“For them to finish second with three games to go, is a big thing. To get through to the Grand Final now is big.”

Mitch Garbutt is held by Danny Houghton and Scott Taylor.

Mitch Garbutt is held by Danny Houghton and Scott Taylor.

Tigers have beaten Leeds four times this year and McDermott added: “Castleford are a good team, extremely good.

“We’ll have to be better than we were tonight and nail every area of the game.“

Stevie Ward is “doubtful” for the final. McDermott said: “He’s popped his shoulder, he is in hospital.”

Hull coach Lee Radford had no complaints. He said: “We’re hugely disappointed, we just fell short unfortunately.

“We got beaten by the better team on the night and I’d like to wish Leeds and Castleford all the best next week – I am sure it’ll be a fascinating final and a great advert for the game.”

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