Smith leaves on a high
Rhinos coach pays tribute to players
Last Updated: October 14, 2007 12:15pm
Smith: signed off in style
Outgoing Leeds Rhinos coach Tony Smith was a proud man after watching his side claim the Grand Final in his final game in charge.
The Rhinos produced a superb display in both attack and defence to beat defending champions St Helens 33-6 at Old Trafford.
Man-of-the-match Rob Burrow was the orchestrater from scrum-half, allowing Brent Webb, Ali Lauitiiti, Scott Donald, Lee Smith and Jamie Jones-Buchanan to each score a try as Leeds ran out surprisingly comfortable winners.
"I am just really pleased for all my players, and so proud of them," said Smith, who is leaving Headingley Carnegie to take charge of Great Britain on a full-time basis.
"They have worked so hard; they deserved it - and I knew they were going to do it tonight.
"They are a great bunch, and it is a fantastic club."
Skipper Kevin Sinfield felt Leeds had proved their critics wrong with a second Grand Final success in four years.
"We've been written off a bit as well this year and to come out against such a great team, the champion team and come out with a performance like that is credit to the guys," Sinfield told Sky Sports.
"The competition's been really tough as well, but Saints have been stand-out the last couple of years.
"The guys had the belief. We knew we had it in us and the guys stood up today.
"The guts and determination and spirit and will to win was there from us."
Leeds forward Jamie Peacock was delighted to get one over on Saints, having suffered at their hands when playing for Bradford Bulls in the 2002 Grand Final.
"It's a great feeling," said Peacock. "I've been wanting to beat Saints since the final in 2002. It means a lot to me.
"The momentum was with us today. We were on a roll the last six or seven weeks of the season."
"They (St Helens) looked tired coming off the pitch (at half-time)," added Peacock. "We thought we could take them and that's what we did."