Leeds Rhinos: Buderus in Grand Final farewell

Kevin Sinfield celebrates victory against Warrington Wolves.
Kevin Sinfield celebrates victory against Warrington Wolves.
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FORMER Australia Test captain Danny Buderus’ final appearance for Leeds Rhinos will be at Old Trafford.

Buderus confirmed moments after last night’s remarkable 26-24 Engage Super League semi-final win at Warrington Wolves that he will return to his former club Newcastle Knights next season.

Rhinos, who finished fifth in the table, defied the odds to become the first team from outside the top-three to qualify for a Grand Final.

They will play either St Helens or Wigan Warriors – who meet this evening – at Old Trafford in a week’s time.

Buderus said: “This is a special group and a special club. It’s with a heavy heart that I’m going back, but I know it is the right thing for me.”

Rhinos have agreed compensation with Newcastle for Buderus, who has a year left on his Leeds contract.

The hooker admitted to feeling “numb” after last night’s triumph – against a team who had chosen Rhinos as their semi-final opponents.

“That’s what sport’s about,” he said. “We’ve bunkered down as a group and believed in ourselves. We’ve been written off in various quarters and fair enough – the pundits have the right to do that, but we are a strong group.

“We’ve been there before in big games and we’ve got some momentum, so we are a dangerous team at the moment.”

Chief executive Gary Hetherington described yesterday as Rhinos’ “finest hour”.

But coach Brian McDermott insisted: “I don’t think it’s a great performance.

“I think it’s a very courageous performance and it shows a lot of tenacity.

“Clinically it wasn’t that great and we can play a lot better. Our kicking game wasn’t great and we made too many errors coming away from our own line.

“But some big players stood up and some young fellas. We haven’t finished the job just yet, the mood in the camp is very humble.

“A lot of respect needs to be paid to Warrington, who have been the best team all year and showed the standard we all need to get to.”

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Rhinos Kallum Watkins. Picture Tony Johnson.

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