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Page last updated at 22:08 GMT, Saturday, 10 October 2009 23:08 UK

Smith delighted by dream send-off

Lee Smith (centre) celebrates with Kylie Leuluai and Luke Burgess
Lee Smith (centre) celebrates with Kylie Leuluai and Luke Burgess

Leeds winger Lee Smith insisted he had no regrets about his decision to switch to rugby union after his heroics in his side's Grand Final win over St Helens.

Smith, who has signed a contract with Wasps, scored two tries in his farewell appearance for the Rhinos as they beat Saints 18-10 at Old Trafford.

"This is a great set of lads - I've met some awesome people here," he said.

"I've made my decision. It's something I had to do. I couldn't have wished for a better time at Leeds."

Smith scored his first try in the first half after Leeds had gone behind, but it was his hotly-disputed second eight minutes from time that made sure of victory for the Rhinos, who made it a record three successive Grand Final wins.

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He looked offside as he ran through to collect Danny McGuire's kick, but the video referee awarded the try after a lengthy deliberation.

"It is unreal. It's my last game, and I didn't want it to end in anything other than this," said Smith.

"I'll settle for a win - it doesn't matter who scores the tries."

Another player saying goodbye was St Helens scrum-half Sean Long, who was making his last appearance after 12 years at the club.

"We built a lot of pressure in the first half, but full credit to Leeds - their defence was superb," said Long, who has agreed a two-year deal with Hull FC.

"We didn't take our chances sometimes tonight - and they did. It's a bit gutting, but I thought they deserved their win. Life goes on."

Smith's team-mate Brent Webb revealed he played despite picking up a rib injury in the play-off semi-final win over the Catalans Dragons.

The Kiwi full-back did not train until Thursday and needed a pain-killing injection to play in the match.

"A lot of blokes, including St Helens boys, were playing with them," he said. "It's nothing new at this time of the year.

"With the help of the doc I was able to get out there in a fairly comfortable state and I'm just happy I could be there and contribute."

Webb missed last year's final with with a back injury and was replaced by Smith, who went on to win the man of the match award.

"It's unbelievable for me," added Webb. "For us to turn up and play the way we did, you can't describe it. It's inspiring."



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see also
St Helens 10-18 Leeds Rhinos
10 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Grand Final as it happened
10 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Super League Grand Final photo gallery
10 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Saints need to believe
09 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Long to steer Saints to victory
09 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Long clarifies betting comments
08 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Peacock demands emotional control
08 Oct 09 |  Leeds
Gidley hopes for third time lucky
07 Oct 09 |  St Helens
Defence key in final - Flannery
06 Oct 09 |  St Helens
Leeds 27-20 Catalans
02 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
St Helens 14-10 Wigan
03 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League
Road to Old Trafford
25 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
The Jon Wilkin interview
30 Sep 09 |  Rugby League


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