LEEDS RHINOS and Castleford Tigers today stand on the brink of history.
Rhinos have the opportunity to win a record-extending eighth Super League Grand Final, but Tigers are only 80 minutes away from being crowned champions for the first time.
Neither team figured in the top-four last year and Rhinos have risen from the relegation zone in 2016 to the verge of their fourth title win in seven seasons.
“We’ve stuck together,” said Rhinos captain Danny McGuire, who will be playing his final game for the club.
“We had a lot of critics last year and rightly so, because we didn’t perform to our potential at times.
“There is a real steely determination this year to play well and get back up where Leeds deserve to be.
“We have worked hard, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, but the good thing is we’ve kept tight with each other.
“We’ve got a really good set of lads and a really committed bunch.
“While at times we’ve probably not played as well as we’d have liked this year, nine and a half times out of 10 I’ve come off the pitch thinking the lads have given everything. Sometimes that’s all you can ask for.”
Tigers have been the entertainers in Super League this season and their captain Michael Shenton pledged that won’t stop tonight – though he admits they need to play with more control.
Tigers were within seconds of wasting a 10-point lead in last week’s semi-final against St Helens and Shenton said: “It’s a brand of rugby we play and a certain way and nothing will stop that, it’s bred into us now.
“There’s times when we have to start controlling the game a little bit better.
“Last week we came up with some really soft errors that really came back to hurt us.
“We’re fortunate we had so much character in the team to get ourselves out of trouble, but I think those lessons will have to be learnt and we don’t want to learn them the hard way [tonight].”