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Mike McMeeken reveals why Castleford Tigers failed to beat Leeds Rhinos in the 2017 Super League Grand Final

It was one of the most unusual Grand Final results in the history of Super League back in 2017.

Castleford Tigers had run rampant through the league that season, losing just five league games all season and finishing ten points clear of Leeds Rhinos in second.

But, when push came to shove, the Tigers just could not deliver when it mattered most – at Old Trafford on that fateful October day.

The build-up to Castleford’s Grand Final could hardly have been worse – star man Zak Hardaker had been found guilty of taking cocaine and was banned for the showpiece event.

Mike McMeeken – who is now plying his trade down in the south of France – however, attributes the 24-6 loss to Leeds as mere complacency.

“We had defied all the odds, people thought we wouldn’t win the league by ten points and have it wrapped up with ixs games to go,” the London-born forward told the Rugby League Review podcast.

“But then the disappointing part was we fell at the last hurdle – we did all the hard work and we got pretty complacent.

“We thought ‘we’ve beat them 66-10 earlier in the season’ and then we lost to them in the final – we thought ‘we should beat these’.

“But, credit to Leeds they kicked us to death and we didn’t have the answer on the day.”

For McMeeken, though, one loss at Old Trafford became two in 2021 as the Dragons went down 12-10 to St Helens in a nailbiting finale.

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