ROB BURROW has played in every one of Leeds Rhinos’ magnificent seven Grand Finals wins and he feels this year’s was the best.
Burrow, Harry Sunderland man of the match winner in 2007 and 2011, played the full 80 minutes in Saturday’s 22-20 conquering of Wigan Warriors.
That completed the domestic treble of Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, league leaders’ shield and First Utility Super League title and Burrow said: “I think this means the most.”
Leeds trailed early on and were four points down after an hour, but somehow found the energy to pull the game from the fire for the third successive week.
“It was probably the tightest game of all the Grand Finals we’ve been in,” Burrow reflected.
“It meant so much for a lot of reasons, but none more so than the three players who are leaving, Kev [Sinfield], JP [Jamie Peacock] and Kylie [Leuluai].
“It’s fitting and it proves dreams do come true.”
Burrow insisted: “Sending the three of them out on a high wasn’t talked about internally, none of them wanted it to be about them.
“But if you ask everybody individually, it would be a massive part. You can’t replace those three guys, but we’ve enjoyed being with them and we’re glad they want out in the best possible way.”
After finishing sixth on last year’s table and making just one off-season signing, Leeds were not among the favourites for silverware this term.
“It is a great achievement and I am blessed to be part of it,” said Burrow, who signed a new two-year contact midway through the campaign.
“There weren’t many high hopes from the press, but we just focused on our job. We set ourselves a goal of wanting to win the treble. It was a tough job, but we did it.” Rhinos lost their three games straight after August’s Challenge Cup final success over Hull KR, so where did they get the energy from to finish top of the table and win the Grand Final?
Burrow said: “That’s a good question, because Wembley does take quite a bit out of you. That’s not an excuse, but I think it’s a reason for those three losses.
“We had no second chance when we went to Huddersfield, we either won and won the league leaders’ shield, or we didn’t and we possibly finished second or third.
“We seem to be good at playing in the games that count. The last three games have been tight, but thankfully we have come out on the right end of them.”
Burrow said this year’s achievements make it the best Leeds side he has played in, since his debut in 2001.
“The treble is something special,” he said.
“I have played in some great sides and some great players have come and gone, but how can you argue with this being the best side?
“We talked about making history and how nice it would be for the club, so it has sunk in, but we will take a few days to enjoy it.”
At the other end of the scale, it was prop Brad Singleton’s maiden Grand Final, less than two months after his Wembley debut.
“We’ve all got a motivation, each and every one of us,” Singleton said.
“That was my first Grand Final win, but the three guys are the story line and we wanted to do it for them.
“A few of us have to step up now, they’ve given us a mould and we just have to fit it.
“They’ve set standards and we have to match them.”
Singleton felt the manner of Leeds’ victory made it more special. He added: “Wigan were always going to be tough, they’re one of the best sides around and credit to them because they were there to the last second.”