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McDermott was key man for Leeds, says Gary Hetherington

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott has now led Leeds Rhinos to two finals in his first season in charge at Headingley since joining from Harlequins a year ago

Leeds coach Brian McDermott has been singled out by his chief executive as the key to them making the Grand Final.

Friday's 26-24 win over Warrington earned Leeds their sixth Super League finale in eight years - and their fourth in five years against St Helens.

"We certainly wouldn't be going to a Grand Final without his efforts," Gary Hetherington told BBC Radio Leeds.

"The appointment of Brian McDermott has been one of the best moves I've made in my 15 years at the club," he added.

"I've made some good ones and some not so good ones. But I think the appointment of Brian in what was a very tricky time in the club's transformation has been justified."

McDermott, who won the Grand Final with Brian Noble's Bradford in 2001, has now led Leeds to their second final of the season, just five weeks after leading his team to Wembley - and their 28-18 Challenge Cup Final defeat by Wigan.

In McDermott's first season in charge, it looked like being no more than a transitional season at Headingley, but he has now silenced the doubters by becoming the first English coach since Noble in 2005 to take a team to Old Trafford

Having found form late on in the season, sparked by their second-half display at Wembley, Leeds finished fifth in Super League. And, having become the first team from outside the top four to make the Grand Final, Hetherington sees the Rhinos' efforts in making it to Old Trafford, at the expense of League Leaders' Shield winners Warrington, as a huge achievement.

"For everyone at the stadium and watching on television that has to be our finest hour," suggested Hetherington.

"It puts us into yet another Grand Final and it's all about winning it next week.

"It was a remarkable game of rugby league - it was sport at its finest. Cutting edge stuff, the pace of the game was remarkable from start to finish, it was a tremendous effort from both sides.

"When we were under the cosh and six points down and facing the full force of a very good Warrington side, the courage, spirit and tenacity of the Rhinos team was absolutely remarkable.

"I hope now the whole of Leeds can get behind the Rhinos, head off to Old Trafford next Saturday and celebrate another famous day for the city."

Leeds boast a reasonable record in the Grand Final, having won on four of their six previous appearances at Old Trafford.

After losing the first one, 10-4 to Wigan, in 1998, they then played Brian Noble's Bradford in successive years in 2004 and 2005.

Leeds won 16-8 under Tony Smith in 2004, only to end up losers again when Bradford had their revenge a year later, Noble's Bulls winning 15-6 - the last time an English coach got his hands on the trophy.

But Leeds' three visits since then have all been successful, stuffing St Helens 33-6 in 2007, Smith's last game as coach, before two far more tightly contests under Brian McClennan - the 24-16 win in 2008 before an 18-10 success a year later.

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see also
Buderus confirms Leeds departure
01 Oct 11 |  Leeds
Warrington 24-26 Leeds
30 Sep 11 |  Rugby League
Warrington opt for Leeds in semis
26 Sep 11 |  Rugby League
Leeds 18-28 Wigan
27 Sep 11 |  Rugby League
McDermott 'humbled' by Rhinos role
25 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
McDermott quits Quins for Leeds
17 Aug 10 |  Harlequins
St Helens 10-18 Leeds Rhinos
10 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
St Helens 16-24 Leeds Rhinos
04 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
St Helens 6-33 Leeds Rhinos
13 Oct 07 |  Rugby League
Bradford 15-6 Leeds
15 Oct 05 |  My Club
Leeds 16-8 Bradford
16 Oct 04 |  My Club
Robinson's run helps Wigan to glory
24 Oct 98 |  Rugby League
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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