Sinfield then kept his nerve with the conversion to give his side the lead for the first time and Kallum Watkins’ last-minute try put the seal on a 20-13 victory that sets up a Grand Final showdown with Wigan at Old Trafford next Saturday. “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”.
“We came to Headingley as the underdogs and came within a whisker of making the final but this one is a tough one to take”.
“He’s improved as the year’s gone on, his defence has got better and he could change the momentum of the game off the bench against the Kiwis”. “That’s why he won the Golden Boot, he’s a great player”. They remind me of the great side we had in 2006. “Thankfully it bounced this side of the line”.
Coach Brian McDermott described it as a “battle of wills”. “It was a great involvement from him”.
He admitted Rhinos were “gassed in the second half” and he said: “The performance was nine out of 10”.
“It really is a tough place to go”.
It sets up prop Jamie Peacock for a glorious finale before retiring, while the decider at Old Trafford on 10 October will also mark Kevin Sinfield’s last match before swapping codes to rugby union.
“I’m experiencing a whole range of emotions”, Sinfield added.
But Kevin Sinfield – in his final game in Rhinos colours at Headingley – produced a magnificent kick to lay the platform for Hall’s decisive try in the left corner. “This isn’t about me or JP or Kylie, there’s a dressing room full of lads who wanted to win that semi-final”, he said. “We have a fantastic group who want to win no matter what”.
Saints extended their lead to 8-0 on 16 minutes with a Luke Walsh penalty after Danny McGuire was adjudged to be offside while intercepting the scrum-half’s pass but the game continued to flow from end to end.
Had it not been for Sinfield producing a 40/20 which turned the course of their semi-final against St Helens on its head on Friday, Leeds may not have been preparing for the Grand Final at all.
But spare a thought for St Helens, who overcame a series of injuries to play their part in a thoroughly absorbing contest that kept a 17,192 crowd spell-bound throughout.
He added: “I am very, very happy to be able to get the win here, in front of so many great fans, who have supported me for 20 years”. We’ve been the bridesmaid a couple of times, hopefully next year we can become the bride.