There have been more than a few shocks in Grand Final history.
A lot of them have come courtesy of the Leeds Rhinos. In 2007 but especially in 2008 they were rank outsiders to beat St Helens at Old Trafford.
In 2011 and 2012 they were naturally underdogs having finished fifth in the league whilst in 2017 they hadn’t beaten Castleford in two years and in eight attempts and had nearly been relegated in 2016.
Yet they played the Tigers off the park in Manchester to claim an eighth Grand Final win.
It has been a talking point ever since as to why a Tigers team which had only lost six games all season in all competitions out of 33 came up so short against the Rhinos on the biggest stage.
Some naturally point to the situation with Zak Hardaker going into the Grand Final with the fullback dropped after testing positive for a banned substance.
But now high profile rugby league agent Craig Harrison has shed light on an interesting conversation he had with Jamie Peacock on the eve of that Grand Final that perhaps gives another reason why the Tigers were so soundly beaten.
Harrison said on his YouTube channel Show Me The Money Rugby League TV: “Jamie Peacock said to me ‘you can’t win Grand Finals unless you’ve been through a lot of tough times because it breeds a tough person.’
“He said when Leeds played Cas in the 2017 Grand Final, he was one of the only ones to back Leeds and he said ‘Why would they not? A lot of them lads have been through Grand Final journeys.’ He didn’t think Cas had anything negative that year, they were all just good and he felt that was the wrong headspace to go into a Grand Final with.”
So, Peacock always believed that the experience of the Rhinos squad, good and bad, was what gave them the edge going into the title decider.
Perhaps he was proved right as Leeds won 24-6 or perhaps it was more down to the situation surrounding Hardaker.
Either way, this fantastic bit of insight came from Harrison’s breakdown of Jack Walker’s move to Bradford Bulls which is well worth a watch: