Danny McGuire eyes perfect Grand Final send-off for departing Leeds trio

Published: Saturday 3rd October 2015 by The News Editor

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Danny McGuire admits victory at Old Trafford next Saturday would provide a fitting farewell for the trio of his Leeds team-mates who will be playing their last games for the club.

A nail-biting 20-13 win over defending champions St Helens in Friday’s second semi-final set up a mouth-watering Super League Grand Final showdown with Wigan, who were comfortable 32-8 winners over Huddersfield 24 hours earlier.

A scoring burst of 12 points in the last 12 minutes, reminiscent of their dramatic last-gasp win over Huddersfield a week earlier which earned them a home semi-final, enabled Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai to taste victory on their last appearances at Headingley.

It also means the outgoing trio will get the chance to bow out on one of the biggest stages of all as the Rhinos look to become only the third Super League club to complete the Challenge Cup, league leaders and Grand Final final treble.

“It’s special,” said McGuire. “We’ve worked really hard to get there.

“It’s been a long old slog, from starting out in February at Hull KR, and I think we’ve deserved it. Sometimes it’s about scrapping for every inch and we managed to find a way to win against Saints.

“There is that desire within the team to be successful. We’ve got some guys whose careers are coming to an end and we wanted to give them another chance.

“We’ve got that character within our team. We don’t like losing, we just keep going for it. It’s served us well over the year and we’ll keep that going next week.”

St Helens are the only team to have done the treble since the Challenge Cup final was moved from its traditional Spring slot to late August in 2005 and McGuire admits it would a remarkable feat if Leeds can repeat it.

“It would be nice,” he said. “Only two teams have achieved it, Bradford and Saints a few years back.

“It’s really hard to do now because the Challenge Cup takes a lot out of you and finishing top of the league is a massive effort but we’ve got one more game to leave out on the field.

“Wigan are probably in better form at the minute than ourselves but we’ll go there and give it our best shot.”

Saturday’s showpiece will be a repeat of the inaugural Grand Final in 1998, which Wigan won 10-4 thanks to a sparkling solo try from Jason Robinson.

“I went to the game and was sat quite close to where Jason Robinson scored under the sticks,” McGuire said. “I don’t think Leeds have ever beaten Wigan in a major final so it would be nice to change that.”

Meanwhile, Sinfield spoke of his sadness after performing a lap of honour to mark his farewell appearance at Headingley in a Rhinos shirt.

The former England captain is switching codes but will remain at Headingley to play for Yorkshire Carnegie.

“It’s sad,” he said. “I just wanted to thank lots of people.

“I’m not moving very far though. In effect after next week I become a supporter myself and I’ll be in the stand with my kids and my wife and getting right behind the team because it’s my team, it’s my club.”

Published: Saturday 3rd October 2015 by The News Editor

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