Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield produced a valiant display of courage and commitment to lead his side to a famous 26-18 victory over Warrington as the Rhinos once more defied the odds to retain their Super League crown.
The veteran stand-off scored a try and kicked five goals from as many attempts, but it was his bravery in defying two crushing injury blows that did more than anything to inspire his side in front of a crowd of 70,676 at Old Trafford.
It also earned him the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match as Leeds made a mockery of the final league placings for the second successive year by winning the title from fifth.
The victory enabled Rhinos to became Super League's most successful club, with six championships since the competition began in 1996, while former England captain Jamie Peacock celebrated his eighth victory on his record-breaking 10th appearance.
However, most of the plaudits will go to Sinfield, who looked to be playing on auto pilot for most of his 78th consecutive Leeds appearance after twice being flattened in crunching collisions but got up each time to inspire his team in trademark fashion.
Sinfield has now led his side to all six Grand Final wins in just nine glorious years to confirm his status as the greatest captain in Leeds' history and increase his side's love affair with Manchester.
The Rhinos have faltered on the last Saturday of August in each of the last three years to see Challenge Cup glory slip from their grasp, yet they discover a spring in their step when autumn arrives.
Ben Jones-Bishop, Carl Ablett and Ryan Hall also went over for the Rhinos, with Richie Myler, Joel Monaghan and Ryan Atkins touching down for Warrington.
- Kevin Sinfield