When Leeds Rhinos were second bottom in April, it seemed impossible that we would see their famous blue and amber jerseys take to the field at Old Trafford for a Grand Final but that’s exactly what we saw last night.
The Rhinos gave it a valiant effort but the benchmark team in Super League at the moment, St Helens, were just too much for them.
It was very much a game of what ifs for Leeds as well, no doubt leaving the Rhinos frustrated however the overriding emotion for Leeds boss Rohan Smith was pride.
When Smith took over Leeds were still more in a relegation battle than a play-off fight with just three wins.
He has only lost six games in charge and won 10 out of the 11 going into the Grand Final. Saints are also the only team he is yet to beat.
The turnaround from the club has been phenomenal and the players have shown immense character to get Leeds to an unlikely Grand Final.
After the game, Smith emphasised his pride: “Got a lot of effort and played all the way through. Didn’t all go our way. Really proud of the journey and the effort in that performance.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way we’ve pulled together. We’ve won a lot fi games that were memorable performances.
“I’m proud of the way we’ve stuck together and been galvanised we played some decent footy but you’re here to win it and we were the second best team tonight.”
Now for Smith and his side it’s on to 2023 and hoping to go one better. You’d imagine the club has one or two signings to announce for next year and maybe they will be the key to Grand Final glory.