Leeds Rhinos Golden Generation - the final countdown

We have reached the final part of our review of all 50 players to have appeared in a winning Super League Grand Final for Leeds Rhinos.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 1:53 pm

Here we recall the last 12 Old Trafford heroes, from Kevin Sinfield to Brent Webb.

Kevin Sinfield: Leeds’ - and probably rugby league’s - greatest captain skippered Rhinos to their first seven Super League titles. He was man of the match in 2009 and 2012, when he was among Leeds’s try scorers. His last game was the treble-clinching Old Trafford defeat of Wigan, when his third goal won the game. The Rhinos academy graduate had a year in union with Yorkshire Carnegie, worked for the Rugby Football League (RFL) and has been Rhinos’ director of rugby since 2018.

Brad Singleton: From Barrow, Singleton came through Rhinos’ academy and was a Grand Final winner in 2015 and 2017. Released at the end of 2019, he moved to Toronto Wolfpack before featuring for Wigan in the 2020 Grand Final.

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WINNERS: Lee Smith, Kevin Sinfield and Brent Webb.

Lee Smith: A Rhinos academy product, Smith played in three different positions in the 2007-2009 Grand Finals, scoring a try in each and being named man of the match in 2008. He left Leeds to play rugby union, returned, then had a spells at Wakefield, Bradford and Leigh as well as two more stints in union, the last with Yorkshire Carnegie.

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Golden Generation part 1 - looking back at Leeds Rhinos' Super League Grand Fina...

Liam Sutcliffe: Now Rhinos’ longest-serving player, the academy product missed the 2015 Grand Final through injury, but was a winner at Old Trafford two years later.

Clinton Toopi: Signed from Auckland Warriors, Toopi was at centre in the 2007 Grand Final, but released by Leeds the following year following a knee reconstruction. He played union in New Zealand, returned to league for two seasons with Gold Coast Titans - captaining the Maori against England in 2010 - and retired at the end of 2011. He went on to work for NRL Community and as a personal trainer.

Clinton Toopi, right, celebrates Rhinos' 2007 Grand Final victory, with teammate Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe.

Chev Walker: Centre at Old Trafford in 2004, Walker - another academy product - left Leeds to join Bath Rugby Union Club at the end of 2006. He returned to league with Hull KR, finished his playing career at Bradford and began coaching there before joining Leeds’ backroom staff. He is now an assistant to coach Richard Agar.

Jack Walker: Promoted from the academy, the former Oulton junior was a Grand Final winner as a teenager in 2017 and has the number one jersey for the coming season.

Josh Walters: Having crossed codes from Yorkshire Carnegie, Walters was Leeds’ unlikely hero at Old Trafford in 2015, coming off the bench to score the historic, game-clinching try. He joined Featherstone Rovers in 2019, after spells on dual-registration and is now at London Broncos.

Lee Smith celebrated a hat-trick of Grand Final wins in 2009. Picture by Steve Riding.

Danny Ward: Son of former Leeds player and coach David Ward, the prop came through Rhinos’ system and featured in the 2004 Grand Final success. Axed for disciplinary reasons in 2006, he played for Castleford, Hull KR and Harlequins and moved through London’s coaching ranks to become team boss, masterminding their promotion to Super League at the end of 2018.

Stevie Ward: A star in Rhinos’ academy, Ward won his first Grand Final ring in 2012 at the end of his debut season. A second followed five years later when he played 80 minutes against Castleford just eight days after dislocating a shoulder. A budding actor and mental health advocate, he retired from playing last month owing to a long-term concussion.

More - Leeds Rhinos Golden Generation part 3 - Super League Grand Final heroes from Sean Lunt to Keith SeniorKallum Watkins: Manchester-born, Watkins began in Leeds’ academy and played in the 2012, 2015 and 2017 - when he was goal kicker - Old Trafford wins. Appointed captain in 2019, he joined Gold Coast midway through that season and is now back in Super League with Salford after a move to Toronto Wolfpack fell through.

Brent Webb: Signed from New Zealand Warriors in 2006, the full-back, known as Superman, played in three of Leeds’ four Old Trafford victories from 2007-2011, missing 2008 because of a back injury. He played for Catalans Dragons after Rhinos, but a recurrence of his back problem forced him into premature retirement.

Josh Walters scored the try which pulled the 2015 Grand Final out of the fire. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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