Leeds 27-20 Catalans

Leeds reached their third consecutive Grand Final after overcoming a stubborn Catalans Dragons side at Headingley.

The game looked to be over in the first-half with Leeds blitzing the French outfit with three tries in five minutes to hold a 22-4 lead.

But Kevin Walters’ men hit back in fine style to keep their hopes alive, but it was not to be as Kevin Sinfield slotted home a decisive drop-goal to give Leeds a three-score advantage.

Catalans started in ferocious fashion and put plenty of pressure on the Leeds line. But Danny McGuire gave the Rhinos the lead against the run of play, dummying sublimely to cross the whitewash.

In a matter of minutes the Dragons hit back though, Thomas Bosc‘s kick-off finding touch and from the resulting scrum he co-orchestrated a move with Adam Mogg to put Vincent Duport over in the corner for the first of his hat-trick.

The game hit a stalemate as both sides went hammer and tong to try and get the decisive edge and it was Leeds who produced it with a tenacious five minute period shortly before the break.

Ryan Hall grabbed a brace on 33 and 36 minutes respectively before McGuire obtained his second try of the game just two minutes prior to the half-time hooter to give Leeds an 18-point advantage.

The game looked even more dead and buried when Scott Donald went over for the Rhinos fifth try of the night, but the Dragons hit their own purple patch as Duport got his second minutes later.

And the winger got his hat-trick ten minutes later to set-up a nervy final quarter with the gap closed to just two converted scores.

With the pressure mounting, Leeds knew it was imperative to get the next score to quash any hope of Catalans getting close to victory and skipper Kevin Sinfield ensured a small sigh of relief when he chipped over a drop-goal.

Credit had to be given to the visitors though for still trying to maintain any hope left as the minutes ticked by, and they did grab a consolation when Adam Mogg powered over but it was nothing more than just that.

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