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Betfred Super League Grand Final match preview

6th October 2017

By Phil Daly

Leeds Rhinos take on Castleford Tigers for the first ever time in the Betfred Super League Grand Final in only the third ever all West Yorkshire Old Trafford finale.

The two sides met in the 2014 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and famously met in the 1969 Championship Final when Leeds won only their second Championship with a tremendous grandstand finish in the controversial Final against Castleford at Odsal, with Leeds trailing by three the pendulum of fate inexorably ticking its way into the last five minutes, a high kick from Redfearn, the ball scrambled away to Risman near the Leeds ’25’, a 30-yard run, a finely-judged kick and there was Atkinson striding away in triumph, for Risman’s sure boot to give Leeds the Championship they so richly deserved. The Leeds team was: Risman; Cowan, Hynes, B. Watson, Atkinson, Shoebottom, Seabourne (Langley); Clark (Hick), Crosby, K. Eyre, M, Joyce, Batten.

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Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Brian McDermott has named his 19 man squad for this Saturday’s Betfred Super League Grand Final against Castleford Tigers at Old Trafford with Stevie Ward included despite dislocating his shoulder last Friday in the semi final win over Hull FC.

Ward spent Friday night in hospital before going into theatre on Saturday morning to have the shoulder relocated. He has seen specialists this week and will continue to have tests with the Leeds Rhinos medical staff during the week.

Ward’s inclusion means McDermott has named an unchanged 19-man squad from the semi final win last Friday. Commenting on the squad McDermott said, “Stevie was in a great deal of pain at the start of the week and is still unlikely to feature at Old Trafford however we will give him as long as possible to prove his fitness. They were unable to relocate his shoulder on Friday night because of the extent of the injury. Stevie was side lined during the 2012 Grand Final and of course missed out in 2015 because of  injury so we want to give him time to try and stake his claim for Saturday.”

The 19-man squad includes just five players who played in McDermott’s first Grand Final win in 2011 whilst Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Liam Sutcliffe are both included having been denied their place in the historic 2015 Grand Final win through injury. Sutcliffe is one of six Grand Final debutants in the Rhinos squad along with Ashton Golding, Matt Parcell, Brett Ferres, Anthony Mullally and Jack Walker.

Castleford Tigers Head Coach Daryl Powell has named his 19 man to take on Leeds Rhinos.

Powell makes two changes to his squad who dramatically claimed victory against St Helens in the Semi-Final last week with Oliver Holmes and Jy Hitchcox returning. Zak Hardaker is unavailable for selection due to a breach of club rules.

The Tiger head coach is delighted to be taking his team into the club’s first ever Super League Grand Final: “The Semi-Final was an unbelievable game! You go through all sorts of emotions in a rugby league game but we’ve never been through as many emotions as we did in that game. I think this is why sport is so beautiful!”

Powell added: “Castleford was the club I grew up supporting, the place means so much to me, and to now be the head coach at the club I supported as a boy and to take this team into the Grand Final is such a great opportunity and we are in a great place.”

“We have a great opportunity to finish the season off with the biggest trophy on Saturday night in front of a packed-out stadium at Old Trafford. I expect a real tough battle on Saturday, we have good quality players across the park and we’ll focus on us.”

James Child has been chosen to take charge of the 2017 Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford. This will be the first time Child has been selected to referee a major fixture having been touch judge for the 2006 Challenge Cup Final before running the line in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Final in Brisbane and a video referee at the 2017 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final.

Ticket information

The 2017 Betfred Super League Grand Final is now officially sold out. The biggest night of the Super League season will be watched by a capacity crowd at Old Trafford, Manchester, in what promises to be a spectacular final between Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos.

Following on from one of the most entertaining Super League seasons to date, the Grand Final will be played in front of a sell-out crowd for the second time in three years.

Fans who are lucky enough to have purchased tickets are reminded to arrive in plenty of time for the 6pm kick off in order that they can catch the pre-game entertainment which includes live music from Razorlight, Stuart Maconie and Laura Wright. Fans are also reminded that there are currently significant diversions in place around Old Trafford and they are therefore advised to leave plenty of time to travel to the game.

Those who don’t have a ticket to the game are still able to watch all of the action live on Sky Sports Arena from 5pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 6pm or listen to the action on BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 5Live Sports extra and talkSPORT.

Official travel packages

Take the hassle out of journeying to Manchester and book official coach travel with Leeds Rhinos. Travel with Rhinos fans on our Supporter Coaches, departing at 1pm from Elland Road.

Travel from Elland Road is still available to purchase for £16 return either by coming down to the Leeds Rugby Store at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, online by clicking here or over the phone on 0371 423 1315.

Travel information

Rugby League fans are being advised to plan their journeys ahead of the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford.

75,000 fans from West Yorkshire are expected to attend as Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers contest the season ending finale which kicks-off at 6pm.

Prior to this, the Fan Zone will be open from 1.30pm, with a stage hosted by Rugby AM, with live music, giveaways, partner activities plus food and drink. Fans should arrive at Old Trafford by at least 5pm as enhanced security and bag checks will be in operation.

For more information and travel advice please click here

Fans information

We hope you are looking forward to the big day. Here is all the information you will need as you make your way to Old Trafford, including travel and transport information, accessibility information, ground regulations plus much more. Please remember to allow extra time to get to the ground with extra security precautions in place. Click here for more details.

Pre-match entertainment

Super League have announced that British indie rock band Razorlight will headline the pre-match and half-time entertainment at the 2017 Betfred Super League Grand Final.

Razorlight will perform at the biggest night of the Super League season and treat the crowd to a selection of their most famous hits such as ‘America’, ‘In the Morning’, ‘Before I fall to pieces’ and ‘Somewhere Else’.

Razorlight said, “”We’re truly excited to be playing such an amazing sporting event in an incredible setting.

“We love a stadium! It’s going to be a great night of Rugby’n’Rock’Roll.”

The band have played at a number of festivals and events this summer, including headlining the Rock Stage at this year’s Isle of Wight festival, headlining ‘Live at your Local’ at Indigo at the 02 and performing at Glen’s Party at the Palace in Scotland and will be sure to bring top class entertainment before the action begins on the field.

Rugby Football League Chief Commercial Officer and Super League Executive Director Roger Draper said: “The Betfred Super League Grand Final always provides incredible entertainment on the field between the two best teams in Super League and fans can also enjoy brilliant entertainment both pre-match and at half-time with Razorlight as the headline act.

“BBC Radio 6 DJ Stuart Maconie will kick-off the entertainment with a Northern Soul set and Grand Final favourite Laura Wright will mesmerise the whole stadium with her rendition of Jerusalem just before kick-off.  No sports fan will want to miss this epic night as we crown the 2017 Betfred Super League Champions on Saturday October 7.”

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Castleford Tigers 6 Leeds Rhinos 24

7th October 2017

By Leanne Flynn

Old Trafford arrived with its traditional Grand Final night down pour but that could not dampen the excitement from both sets of fans as a full house erupted when the teams took the field.

The Rhinos were appearing in their tenth Grand Final, the Tigers their first, and it was Leeds who struck first. A superb kick by Danny McGuire hung in the Manchester air long enough for Tom Briscoe to race up and collect before grounding for the opening try. Video referee Phil Bentham agreed with the on field decision and the Rhinos led. Kallum Watkins kicked a nerveless conversion to give his side a 6-0 lead after 12 minutes.

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Leeds thought they were in for a second score not long after. Once again it was McGuire’s kick that did the damage. Watkins chased through and looked to have got his hand down on the ball ahead of Michael Shenton. The on field decision was try but the video referee disagreed and instead said Watkins had knocked on.

The Tigers gained a foothold in the game after that with McShane and Gale pulling the strings against their former club. Leeds had to produce some fearsome defence to keep the League Leaders out in particular a vital tackle by Liam Sutcliffe on Greg Eden as the league’s top try scorer broke clear on a free play.

Castleford then had a try ruled out themselves by the video referee when they were adjudged to have obstructed in the build up to an effort by Jy Hitchcox.

Leeds had to once again hold firm on their own line but then looked like they had hit back when Briscoe raced through to touch down McGuire through kick on a free play. However, video referee Bentham once again over turned the online field decision and judged that Briscoe had pushed McShane off the ball.

Leeds did increase their lead on the stroke of half time when McGuire coolly slotted over a drop goal with the last play of the half to give his side a 7-0 advantage.

The second half saw the Rhinos turn the screw as they pressed home their advantage. Leeds crossed for their second try when a high kick was spilled by Eden and McGuire was on hand to pick up and go over. Watkins missed the conversion but the Rhinos now led 11-0.

That lead was increased further when Moon managed to get his hands free in the tackle to put Briscoe over in the corner for his second try of the game. Watkins added the conversion and the Rhinos now led 17-0.

With the wet weather making handling conditions very difficult for both tries, another score looked like it would be crucial for the Rhinos and the skipper delivered again as he chased through a spilled ball by the Tigers to touch it down between the posts. Watkins added the conversion to make it 23-0 to the Rhinos with ten minutes to play.

McGuire added a drop goal in the 77th minute before being announced as the Man of the Match and end a memorable night and career with the Rhinos. Castleford were not to be nilled and Alex Foster crossed for a last minute try and Luke Gale converted in the final kick of the game.

A fairytale ending for McGuire and Rob Buroow who secured their eighth Super League title in their final game for the club.

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Team Performance

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In Pictures

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