On This Day in 2008: Leeds win Super League Grand Final

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Leeds upset the odds to retain their Super League crown with a 24-16 Grand Final victory over St Helens on this day in 2008.

Lee Smith was named man of the match after a starring role while Danny McGuire also scored two tries in a rain-lashed showpiece at Old Trafford.

Saints, hoping to give coach Daniel Anderson a winning farewell, had been strong favourites having won their previous 23 matches. They had also thrashed the Rhinos 38-10 just a fortnight earlier.

Despite being the defending champions, Leeds had been the underdogs at Old Trafford
Despite being the defending champions, Leeds were the underdogs at Old Trafford (John Giles/PA)

The withdrawal of Leeds’ inspirational full-back Brent Webb on the eve of the match through injury also seemed to strengthen the Merseysiders’ hand.

Yet in Smith, who was shifted from the wing in an 11th-hour change to the gameplan, Leeds had a more than capable replacement.

Saints struck first with a James Graham try but Smith and Ryan Hall replied to give Leeds an advantage at the break.

Matt Gidley levelled but McGuire’s double secured back-to-back titles for the Yorkshire club despite another Saints touchdown from Ade Gardner.

“There were 17 warriors out there tonight,” said Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield, who kicked four goals.

“To claw our way back from a bit of adversity and come up with a performance like that is what Leeds is about. I’m really proud.”

Leeds’ win capped a fine first season in charge for Brian McClennan, a former New Zealand assistant boss to Anderson, having also won the World Club Challenge.

Danny McGuire scored two tries for Leeds
Danny McGuire scored two tries for Leeds (John Giles/PA)

“We knew we had to roll our sleeves up tonight and we are overwhelmed with joy because we knew it was a huge challenge,” he said.

It was a disappointing end for Anderson, who won nine trophies during his three-and-a-half years in charge at Saints.

He said: “It’s a desperately disappointed dressing room, but we’ve had some wins, we’ve had some losses and you’ve got to suck in both sides. It’s been a privilege for me to be at St Helens.”

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