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Page last updated at 20:35 GMT, Saturday, 4 October 2008 21:35 UK
2008 Grand Final
Old Trafford, Manchester



We had 17 warriors out there - Sinfield

Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield hailed his 17 "warriors" after leading the Rhinos to Grand Final victory over St Helens.

The defending champions went into the game as clear underdogs but dominated the game to win 24-16 at Old Trafford.

"We missed Brent Webb and Clinton Toopi but the guys who were in the 17 put their hands up. There were 17 warriors out there tonight," said Sinfield.

"I'm the lucky guy who gets to pick the trophy up and lead the side out but it's been a massive team effort."

Leeds were beaten 38-10 by Saints at Knowsley Road a fortnight ago and were hit by the loss of full-back Webb in the run-up to the game.

But Brian McClennan's team took control from the first hooter to retain their trophy and halt their opponents' 23-game unbeaten run.

McClennan delighted with Leeds spirit

"We got beat by a champion team but to claw our way back from a bit of adversity and come up with a performance like that is what Leeds about. I'm really proud," said Sinfield.

Rob Burrow echoed Sinfield's sentiments, adding: "A lot of people wrote us off but we believed in ourselves and we showed it tonight."

Saturday's win made it three titles in five seasons for Leeds, and Sinfield was quick to highlight McClennan's role in the latest triumph.

The New Zealander is in his first season at the helm after succeeding Tony Smith.

I know it is what he is paid to do but he has done a great job in turning it around and keeping a very special trophy at Headingley

Sinfield on McClennan

"'Bluey' needs to take a lot of credit because there were some lads with their heads on the floor, who were completely shot," said Sinfield. "They were really disappointed with what happened at Saints.

"I know it is what he is paid to do but he has done a great job in turning it around and keeping a very special trophy at Headingley."

McClennan put the achievement down to his players and praised their recovery from dejection at Saints two weeks ago.

"You can only do that if there is some mental toughness there in the first place and these players have it," he said. "I am astounded at times at the toughness of these players.

"We knew we had to roll our sleeves up tonight and we are overwhelmed with joy because we knew it was a huge challenge we faced. We banded together and we did it, so we are very proud."

McClennan also paid tribute to his opposite number Daniel Anderson, who stood down as St Helens boss at the end of the game after three and a half highly successful years.

He said: "I would just like to give a plug to Daniel and what an outstanding tenure he has had.

"The NRL club that finally does smarten up and get Daniel, I bet a year later all the other clubs will be kicking themselves.

"There are a lot of high-quality people involved at St Helens. That is why we are so overjoyed. We know we have beaten a class side."

see also
St Helens 16-24 Leeds Rhinos
04 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Anderson rues poor Saints display
04 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Grand Final as it happened
04 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Super League Grand Final photos
04 Oct 08 |  Rugby League


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