St Helens 16-24 Leeds

Leeds became only the second team to retain the Super League trophy as they ran out worthy winners in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.nnDespite being written off by many pre-match, The Rhino’s were inspired to victory by a Man-of-The-Match performance from Lee Smith, who replaced the influential Brent Webb at full-back.nnAs the rain poured down over Manchester, it was St Helens who started the game brightest, scoring the first points of the night when a clever inside pass from Sean Long opened up the defence, allowing Lee Gilmour to swap passes with Wellens, who was able to gift Man-of-Steel James Graham the opening score.nnWith Leeds looking shaken, Saints piled on pressure but were unable to add to their lead and the scores were soon level when a superb off-load from Jamie Jones-Buchanan allowed Smith to slide over the line.nnWith the weather clearly causing problems with handling, Leeds looked to be dealing with the conditions better and they were able to take the lead just before half-time when a smart flick-pass from Senior gave stand-in winger Ryan Hall the opportunity to improvise with a neat grubber into the corner and touchdown, with Sinfield coolly slotting the extras off the post.nnCameras showed Daniel Anderson to be delivering a rollicking to his side in his final half-time speech in charge at Saints and it had the desired effect when the scores were again brought level, with Gidley finishing well as Gardner patted a high kick back to him.nnLeeds quickly reasserted themselves however when McGuire grounded a deft kick into the in-goal area from Sinfield.nnA spell of pressure from Saints eventually resulted in a try in the corner for Ade Gardner when he took Roby’s long ball but crucially, Long failed to convert. This meant that when Meli failed to claim Sinfield’s bomb and McGuire weaved his way over from the rebound, Leeds were two scores clear.nnA continuation of excellent kicking from Leeds and uncharacteristic errors from Saints meant that it never really looked like Leeds would lose their 8 points lead and so it proved as they completed a remarkable turnaround from their 38-10 defeat at the hands of Saints a fortnight ago to clinch the trophy again and end Saint’s 23 game unbeaten run.

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