RUN! That was the one thought going through Ryan Hall’s mind as he raced in for the try which clinched the League Leaders’ Shield last night.
In an astonishing finish to the First Utility Super-8s, Rhinos scored 12 points in the last six minutes to snatch a 20-16 victory at Huddersfield Giants.
Leeds trailed 16-8, but a Tom Briscoe try and Kevin Sinfield conversion and penalty levelled the scores with 85 seconds left and then Hall dashed over from Danny McGuire’s kick as the hooter sounded.
Asked what he was thinking as he headed for the line, Hall said: “Run, that’s all that was going through my mind.
“It was the only thing that had gone for me all day, so I thought I had better finish it off. I was hoping no one was chasing me, because my leg was hurting a bit!
“I was just glad I got there.”
Hall has scored in Challenge Cup and Grand Finals and he added: “You can’t say one try is more than another.
“To get where we’ve got today was a season-long effort. There’s been lots of important tries along the way and that was just one of them.”
Rhinos will play host to St Helens next Friday, with Wigan at home to Huddersfield in the other semi-final.
Wigan were seconds away from finishing top, but Hall felt Leeds deserved it.
“We’ve got the most points and the best points difference,” he said.
“I am not boasting, but I would say we deserve it.
“We’ll enjoy it, but we’ve got to back it up. It won’t mean anything if we don’t win next week.”
Last night’s win ended a run of three straight defeats.
Boss Brian McDermott said: “Over the duration of the season, I reckon we’ve been the best team, only by a cigarette paper’s width.
“I don’t think we’ve been a long way in front of everybody, I think Wigan have been a good team and so have Huddersfield and Saints are a very tenacious team who won’t go away.
“I am happy we are league leaders and I don’t have a problem with the way we did it, because during my time as Leeds coach we’ve been on the end of some tough finishes.
“I thought the game was dead and buried with 10 minutes to go, I didn’t think we could turn that scoreline around.”