Our YEP Jury look back on Leeds Rhinos victory over Castleford Tigers in the Super League Grand Final.
Well, who would have thought it? Leeds Rhinos – 2017 Super League Champions. I certainly didn’t see it happening, but I am delighted that it has.
Two months ago, after losing heavily at Wakefield Trinity, I said I couldn’t see how we could go on to win the Grand Final, but one thing I really should know as a Rhinos fan by now is that when it comes to the business end of the season there is no team better than us at dealing with the pressure of the situation.
I’ll bear that in mind in future, it will make life a whole lot easier.
The performance at Old Trafford on Saturday was superb and easily the best this season in terms of executing a game plan.
Castleford weren’t allowed to get going and Leeds, led expertly by Danny McGuire, just simply did what they had to do.
What a send-off it proved for him and Rob Burrow.
It has not been a perfect season, but an eighth Super League title certainly makes up for that.
Saturday for me was the most satisfying Grand Final win of the lot, up against our noisy rivals who have had the best of us for way too long we completely took them apart.
It was such a complete display in how to win Grand Final in conditions which were far from ideal.
For me, credit goes to a lot of people, starting at the top.
Despite a disastrous season last year they refused to panic and rightly stuck by Brian McDermott who has in turn produced this season’s side to really find their best when it matters the most.
Our departing captain was simply brilliant on Saturday night, controlling the game and also scoring his trademark Grand Final tries. Knowing Danny personally he is such a great lad I for one say goodbye with a heavy heart, our loss is definitely KR’s gain. Hope the boys enjoy a huge celebration and I can’t wait already for next season and the chance to take on the Aussies once more.
Leeds Rhinos are back where we belong!
Brian McDermott, post game on the Old Trafford pitch, said about the Leeds fans “sometimes they boo me, but I just think that’s for entertainment”.
Well, I’m the first to admit I’ve booed Mr McDermott many times and for many seasons. I’ve booed him plenty of times this year.
In fact I booed him as recently as a few weeks ago and have documented my reasons why many, many times.
However, stood at Old Trafford on Saturday, I didn’t boo him, in fact as he walked round showing us fans that he does occasionally smile, I applauded him.
I’m not being hypocritical, I stand by almost all of my criticism of him and he was exposed many times during the course of the 2017 Super League season.
I applauded him because once again, at the very end of the business end of the Super League season he had managed to galvanise a group of players to deliver, right when it counts.
For this Brian McDermott I applaud you and won’t boo again until 2018.
Like a phoenix, Leeds Rhinos have risen from the ashes of a season of lows to end on a high.
This year has seen the team play as a strong cohesive unit, earning second place in the league and culminating in last week’s Grand Final triumph.
Castleford Tigers may have been the team storming the wins this year but that was quickly put behind them when the Rhinos showed their true strength of character.
The game was in Leeds’ hands from the start, between an obviously well-chosen game plan to players who were clearly committed through and through.
Rhinos showed they were able to maintain good form throughout the season and then take it one step further for the Final.
That’s something Castleford will be working hard to emulate next year.
It was also fitting that two legends of the game, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow finished their final season in spectacular style – McGuire being one of the standout players in the Grand Final.
The 2017 season has been a year of hope and strength.
The 2017 season was not of the highest quality, with most of the so called “big guns” failing to come up to previous standards.
Castleford were by far the most consistent team, playing some excellent rugby and were run away League Leaders.
Leeds, although inconsistent, were probably the best of the rest.
It was probably quite right therefore that the teams finishing in first and second should contest the Grand Final.
Whilst the pundits generally and the “bookies” in particular had Cas down as clear favourites, they hadn’t taken into consideration the determination, experience and no little skill that the Leeds team possessed. Playing in front of a huge crowd Leeds proceeded to give a masterclass in how to play in a big game.
With the forwards dominating from the outset the game could have been over by half-time.
Excellent work by the arch magician Danny McGuire caused untold problems for the Castleford defence. He was quite rightly the winner of the man of the match award.
Now that the Super League season has ended and no more of these little vignettes to write, I think I’m going to try my hand at some new activities to fill the void.
With the plethora of shows on the telly showing it, I quite fancy trying my hand at cookery and I’m looking forward to trying a recipe for Humble Pie.
I’ve knocked the coaching at Leeds for most of the season and have found myself distinctly uninspired at times during games, but you have to hold your hands up after last Saturday’s Grand Final victory over Castleford Tigers and say lucky or not, Brian McDermott and the Leeds team came good in the end.
Going forward, perhaps the fans will more readily take the various quirks and foibles throughout the season, if he continues to deliver the big prizes that matter at the end of the season.
Of course I could also say, why didn’t we perform like that during certain tranches of season? However that is probably why he is the coach and I’m giving my view from the terraces.