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Final score: St Helens 6-33 Leeds


By Elizabeth Hudson

1958: Smiles all around for the Leeds players as they come up for the Super League trophy. Gareth Ellis kisses the trophy after he gets his Super League-winning ring and last through is captain Kevin Sinfield who lifts the trophy as fireworks start over Old Trafford.

1956: It is the turn of St Helens, led by Keiron Cunningham, to get their losers medals. There are some glum looks on their faces.

1954: Rob Burrow is first up on the steps to get his man of the match honour.

"I thought it would be a tight score but they've played them off the park. It's been a magnificent performance. Leeds have been almost perfect, winning the second half 25-0 and shows the dominance of the game. St Helens have given their title up to a great team."
Wakefield coach John Kear on BBC Radio 5live

80 mins: FULL-TIME St Helens 6-33 Leeds
There is joy on the Leeds bench and it is a fitting farewell for coach Tony Smith who leaves the club to take over the Great Britain job on a full-time basis.

79 mins: TRY St Helens 6-33 Leeds
Jamie Jones-Buchanan has the final say with a late late try with Sinfield adding the kick. The video referee Ben Thaler is called into service for the first time to award the try to the man with the maddest beard in Super League.

77 mins: "The Leeds fans are really enjoying themselves. I don't think they ever imagined having the game wrapped up with so much time left."
BBC Sport's Phil Gordos at Old Trafford

76 mins: Rob Burrow gets the Harry Sunderland Trophy for Man of the Match.

74 mins: As some Saints fans make their way out of Old Trafford, here's a rugby league-showbiz connection for you. Leeds try-scorer Lee Smith has been stepping out with Emmerdale actress Verity Rushworth, who plays Donna Windsor-Dingle.

72 mins: TRY St Helens 6-27 Leeds
A high tackle by a Saints player results in a penalty from just inside their half and Kevin Sinfield opts to kick for goal. He makes it and everything is going right for the Rhinos.

"Leeds have done to St Helens what Saints have done to so many teams over the years. It's near perfect."
BBC Sport's Stuart Pyke on Radio 5live

69 mins: TRY St Helens 6-25 Leeds
There's no stopping Leeds. Danny McGuire sends a high kick into the right corner and Lee Smith outjumps Francis Meli to grab the ball and go over for the try which virtually seals victory. Sinfield adds the extras.

66 mins: Things have quietened down a little bit at Old Trafford with the official attendance announced as 71,352. It's a bit less than last season but maybe that is due to some people having problems getting tickets because of the postal strike.

62 mins: A terrible kick by Matt Gidley is eagerly grabbed by Leeds. St Helens seem a bit short on ideas and time is not on their side.

60 mins: Clinton Toopi is absolutely loving this at the moment. He is jumping around like a crazed kangaroo and urging the Leeds fans to play their part.
BBC Sport's Phil Gordos at Old Trafford.

58 mins: The Leeds defence are not giving up on their task as Keiron Cunningham is held up over the line after being set up via Sean Long's 40-20 kick.

"Great composure from Burrow to send over that drop goal and it was a sweet strike of the ball. The composure reflects their total performance. Leeds have kicked St Helens to death."
Wakefield coach John Kear on BBC Radio 5live

54 mins: DROP GOAL St Helens 6-19 Leeds
They are starting to celebrate at the Leeds end of the ground as Rob Burrow puts the Rhinos ahead further with a drop goal.

52 mins: TRY St Helens 6-18 Leeds
And things are definitely going Leeds' way. A 16th try of the season to Scott Donald who dummies past Paul Wellens (that doesn't happen too often) and it is classic wing play from a lovely pass from Keith Senior which puts the Rhinos well on the way to victory. Sinfield adds the extras.

50 mins: TRY St Helens 6-12 Leeds
The Leeds pressure pays off as Ali Lautiiti goes over. Jason Cayless plays at Kevin Sinfield's dab kick through and Leeds get another set of six but once the ball goes to Lautiiti he powers over in the corner. The kick is at a tricky angle and Sinfield misses the extras.

48 mins: Things are going back Leeds's way. Saints are looking the more fatigued side and if the Rhinos can score, they could take control.

44 mins: Leeds are forced into some tough defending as Saints get back to back sets but Sean Long's kick through goes over the end line and the ball goes back to Leeds.

42 mins: It's Leeds who make the brighter start but a mistake by Scott Donald allows St Helens to build from a scrum 30 metres out.

41 mins: "How much has that extra play-off game taken out of Leeds? We're about to find out."
BBC Sport's Phil Gordos at Old Trafford.

1904: Back we go for another nerve-jangling 40 minutes (or more, if we have extra time...)

1855: There is a resounding welcome from the Old Trafford crowd for former St Helens and Hull full-back Steve Prescott. Prescott, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer, has finished an 11-day walk from Hull to Old Trafford, raising 50,000.

1850: "Old Trafford is full of the greats tonight. I've seen Chris Joynt, Paul Newlove and Michael Withers."
Nick via text on 81111

"That was rugby league at its highest quality and it's all still in the balance. Great game, great skills, great atmosphere."
Wakefield coach John Kear on BBC Radio 5live

40 mins: HALF-TIME: St Helens 6-8 Leeds
Willie Talau drops the ball 30 metres out from his own line and Leeds have possession from the resulting scrum in the final minute but they can't do anything with the ball and the half-time hooter goes with Leeds holding a two-point advantage, which is nothing in this game.

"That's three sets for Leeds close to the St Helens line. It's going to be a heck of an end to the first half and you have to fancy Leeds to come up with something."
Wakefield coach John Kear on Radio 5live

35 mins: Leeds are trying to inch closer to the Saints line and there is a resounding tackle by Ian Kirke on Mike Bennett which gives them possession back.

34 mins: Some magnificent defence by Saints push Leeds back behind their own goal-line and Sinfield is forced to drop out. We all know how dangerous St Helens are coming up to the break...

32 mins: Kevin Sinfield's offload 40m out finds its way to a St Helens player. It might prove costly for Leeds.

30 mins: A great moment of opportunism almost ends up in another Leeds try as Danny McGuire kicks through and grabs it himself before sending the ball out to the wing and Scott Donald but the kick is just too long for the Australian.

"I think Sean Long's kicking has been excellent so far."
Wakefield coach John Kear on Radio 5live

28 mins: St Helens are back in business and they break away through Jon Wilkin who is stopped just before halfway.

26 mins: TRY St Helens 6-8 Leeds Something out of nothing and Saints are back in the game. A magnificent break from Sean Long and some good support play from Lee Gilmour who sends the ball out to his right for James Roby to score his side's first try. Sean Long makes no mistake with the conversion.

23 mins: A lovely 20m burst from Rob Burrow, the smallest man in Super League as he ducks under the challenge of some taller Saints defenders.

"This season saw James Roby win the Man of Steel award, which is well deserved. James is probably in the top two or three young players in the world and we are so lucky to have him. He was surprised to win and you could tell as much when he collected his award because he was sporting facial hair which was last seen being licked off by a cat. It was bad but well done James."
BBC Sport columnist and St Helens back-rower Jon Wilkin

21 mins: Let's see how Saints respond to the Leeds pressure. Well, coach Daniel Anderson brings on James Roby and Maurie Fa'asavalu for Nick Fozzard and Keiron Cunningham.

19 mins: TRY St Helens 0-8 Leeds
A poor kick by Jon Wilkin gifts possession to Leeds. The Rhinos keep the ball alive through Brent Webb, Danny McGuire, Keith Senior and Scott Donald for Webb to go over in the corner. Kevin Sinfield adds the extras from a very tricky angle.

15 mins: PENALTY St Helens 0-2 Leeds
Another penalty won by Ellis for a Saints offside. They opt to kick for goal - not surprisingly. Kevin Sinfield makes it. It means he has scored in every game this season.

13 mins: A first penalty for Leeds for a high tackle on Gareth Ellis. It's the closest they have got to the Saints line all game.

10 mins: Another Long kick reaches the Leeds line and Saints certainly have the territorial advantage so far. It's great kicking by the Saints scrum-half.

8 mins: Sean Long kicks early in the tackle count and Brent Webb has to work hard to retrieve the ball and Scott Donald also helps the Leeds cause with another good charge forward but Leeds are unable to threaten the Saints line.

6 mins: "St Helens are asking plenty of questions down the Leeds right-hand side."
Wakefield coach John Kear on Radio 5live

3 mins: An early penalty for Saints, set up by a lovely kick through by Sean Long and Matt Diskin is penalised for obstruction. Amazingly, Long misses the penalty from 24 metres out. Maybe it's a bit of rustiness on his part, but worrying, nonetheless, in a game where kicking could prove crucial.

2 mins: Leeds' opening set does not see them make much ground but Danny McGuire's kick is safely grabbed by Paul Wellens and it is early advantage to Saints.

1 min: Saints first possession is not the best - Leeds are tackling hard and Sean Long goes for a long kick to relieve the pressure.

1804: Kevin Sinfield kicks off for Leeds - it's almost perfect conditions at Old Trafford and we're off and running in the 10th Grand Final.

1802: Fireworks greet the St Helens and Leeds teams arrival onto the pitch. It's nearly time for action as the countdown clock ticks down.

1800: Russell Watson gets his turn in the spotlight with his rendition of Jerusalem.

1759: Final words of encouragement and support in the dressing rooms for both teams before their grand entrance.

1757: The Super League trophy makes its way onto the pitch.

1754: The players are getting ready to enter the field of play...

"Old Trafford is the Theatre of Dreams and I suppose that is quite apt as many of the players involved will have been dreaming about the place and the game for the last few nights.

"I have never known a stadium of that size maintain such a close and intimidating atmosphere, It honestly brings goose bumps to the back of your neck and I only wish everyone could experience walking out to the noise of 75,000 slightly excited rugby league fans - it is better than most of the obvious things that would be mentioned here."
BBC Sport columnist and St Helens back-rower Jon Wilkin

1751: The atmosphere at Old Trafford is getting louder and louder. The Leeds fans are trying to out-sing their rivals with a chorus of Marching on Together.

1749: The bookies make St Helens the favourites and Ade Gardner is favourite to be the first try-scorer at around 12-1. Leeds' Kylie Leuluai is the outsider to be first scorer at around 66-1.

1742: "The law of averages say that Saints have to lose sometime. Leeds are the team to test them to the max."
princebullett1 on 606

1739: Both coaches are out on the pitch with their teams for the pre-match warm-up. Tony Smith and Daniel Anderson are taking a good look at the opposition. Are they hoping to glean anything from this late stage that might give their side the edge?
BBC Sport's Phil Gordos in Manchester

1732: "The final has been built up so much in the press, with Leeds being in very fine form and ourselves not in too bad fettle. All the indications suggest a game to remember, but previous encounters this season, psychological advantages and any other potential differences between the teams will count for nothing.

"These factors will all be re-written within the opening stages of the final and a new struggle begins. Finals become a tactical battle of the thinkers within each team. The majority of the other players - myself included - play a supporting role and merely contribute in any way we can."
BBC Sport columnist and St Helens back-rower Jon Wilkin

1725: All the speculation has proved wide of the mark. Sean Long starts at scrum-half for Saints after his hamstring and calf problems and Maurie Fa'asavalu is named among the replacements. Leeds' only change sees Ryan Bailey replace Jordan Tansey on the bench

St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pruce, Long, Fozzard. Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Flannery, Wilkin. Interchange: Roby, Bennett, Graham, Fa'asavalu.

Leeds: Webb, Donald, Toopi, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield. Interchange: Bailey, Lautiiti, Kirke, Ablett.

1721: All you Katherine Jenkins fans out there, bad news, I'm afraid. The Welsh chanteuse was supposed to be part of the pre-game entertainment, including the rendition of Jerusalem, but has been forced to pull out with a flu bug. Her replacement is a man well used to Old Trafford - opera singer and Manchester United fan Russell Watson. Ironically, Watson performed at the first Grand Final 10 years when Wigan beat Leeds

1715: I'm St Helens born and bred too, but resident these past 15 years in Moscow, so almost zero RL coverage here.Of course I want my hometown team to win and I'm pretty sure they will.
moscowexile on 606

1712: Leeds have won the pre-match coin toss and have elected to kick off in less than an hour's time. The Rhinos will be defending the Stretford End at Old Trafford.
BBC Sport's Phil Gordos in Manchester

1710: Wigan coach Brian Noble is down at pitchside doing his bit for the BBC with presenter Phil Jones. Don't forget you can watch highlights of the Grand Final on BBC2 at 1130 BST on Sunday, while the Super League Show will be on BBC1 at 1405 in the North of England.

1700: Things are perhaps not going exactly to plan for the Leeds United fans in the Rhinos team - Danny McGuire included. The footballers could only draw 1-1 with Leyton Orient at Elland Road this afternoon.

1655: Time is ticking down and the nerves are starting to take over - and that's just me. I wonder if Leon Pryce is getting nervous, even though he is a Grand Final veteran. The Saints stand-off is making a record-breaking seventh appearance in the end of season spectacular. He won three times with Bradford in 2001, 2003 and 2005 as well as with Saints last year but lost with the Bulls in 1999 and 2002.

1627: So, what is it like to be a player in a Grand Final? BBC Sport columnist and St Helens back-rower Jon Wilkin is lucky enough to have played in one final last year and will be lining out for Saints again later and has told us what it is like...

"The Grand Final - it is the end to one of the most demanding seasons in sport. The Super League this year has been more intense and more ferocious than ever.

"It is physically demanding but the biggest test is the battle that goes in rugby players' heads. I am not referring to a form of rugby league-induced schizophrenia but a tussle against injury and fatigue within the player's mind.

"I have no doubts that the players who can block out the fatigue and battle through will come out on top."

1604: Here's one for you fact fans out there - St Helens have never lost in a Grand Final - winning in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2006. Leeds have won one (2004) and lost two (1998 and 2005) in their previous appearances.

1555: "There are rumours doing the rounds that both Sean Long and Maurie Fa'asavalu are missing for Saints. Word from the RFL is that neither players' kit has been laid in the dressing room and that Bryn Hargreaves has been promoted to the 17-man line-up. Is it a bluff? Don't think Leeds coach Tony Smith will be falling for any ruse."
BBC Sport's Phil Gordos

1553: "Grey and cloudy at Old Trafford but at least it's dry for the moment. Just had a chat with BBC commentator Ray French. He thinks the Saints front row will be the deciding factor tonight. He may have a point. He's also highlighted the fact that the Old Trafford pitch is wider than either Knowsley Road or Headingley, which means there could be joy down the flanks for both sides. We'll see."
BBC Sport's Phil Gordos in Manchester

1550: Good afternoon and welcome. Forget what's going on in Paris later on this evening, this is the real game of the day and I'm hoping it will be a thriller.

The top two sides in the Super League this season - St Helens and Leeds are set to do battle in the 2007 Grand Final at Old Trafford.

St Helens are the defending champions after beating Hull FC last season and have already won the Challenge Cup and the League Leaders' Shield, as well as the World Club Challenge.

Leeds have beaten Saints twice already this season, but Daniel Anderson's side gained revenge with a 10-8 victory two weeks ago to book their place at Old Trafford.

The Rhinos made no mistake with their second chance to get to the final, easily defeating Wigan last weekend in the final eliminator to give coach Tony Smith the chance of a parting gift before he becomes the full-time Great Britain coach.

Saints are waiting on the fitness of scrum-half Sean Long, who has been sidelined for a month by a hamstring injury. Matty Smith is ready to deputise.

St Helens (from): Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Wilkin, Roby, Bennett, Graham, Smith, Fa'asavalu, Flannery.

Leeds (from): Webb, Donald, Toopi, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield, Lauitiiti, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Tansey.

Referee: Ashley Klein (London).

St Helens 6-33 Leeds Rhinos
13 Oct 07 |  Rugby League
Sinfield delight at Leeds success
13 Oct 07 |  Rugby League
Grand Final photos
13 Oct 07 |  Rugby League
Jon Wilkin column
13 Oct 07 |  Rugby League

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