Danny McGuire’s first-half try double laid the foundations as Leeds Rhinos clinched a thrilling English Super League grand final against Wigan Warriors to complete their domestic treble.
The Challenge Cup and League Leaders’ Shield winners held their nerve on Saturday to win 22-20 and give club legends Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield a fairytale farewell.
Leeds enjoyed the better of a tense first half and McGuire crossed over twice, either side of a try from Australian centre Joel Moon.
Joe Burgess had opened the scoring for the Warriors and they began the second half on the front foot as well, Dom Manfredi crossing over.
Former Australia international Matty Bowen added a superb solo try to edge Wigan ahead again but it was 20-year-old Josh Walters who grabbed the decisive score at Old Trafford and sealed Leeds’ seventh triumph in as many visits to the stadium.
The title – and the treble – represents the perfect send-off for club legends Peacock and Sinfield, who were each playing their final game for the Rhinos.
Leeds began on top, but Wigan opened the scoring after four minutes as Sydney Roosters-bound winger Burgess finished off a Liam Farrell break and Bowen converted.
McGuire responded for Leeds in the eighth minute as he latched onto a neat kick through from Kevin Sinfield, who converted to draw his team level.
Leeds were handed a straightforward opportunity to go ahead from the tee when the Warriors were penalised deep in their own half, but Brian McDermott’s men elected against the two points and continued attacking.
And it paid off as Moon crossed over in the corner – the video referee decided there was no knock-on in the build up and the Rhinos were ahead again, though Sinfield missed the resulting kick.
Despite ensuing Warriors pressure, fantastic last-ditch tackling from a scrambling Leeds defence preserved the lead, which was soon extended.
Kallum Watkins fed McGuire to finish off a flowing move and grab his second score of the half, Sinfield adding the extras for a ten-point lead at the break.
Wigan enjoyed a scintillating start to the second half thanks to two quick-fire tries in the opening ten minutes.
Manfredi beat Ryan Hall to a high kick to score and that was followed by a try under the posts from Bowen as he scythed through the Rhinos defence and converted.
On the hour mark, Wigan were awarded a penalty 20 metres out from the Leeds line and Bowen took the two points on offer to extend his team’s lead to four points.
The Rhinos responded through Walters’ try, finished off a typically-Leeds improvised move, and captain Sinfield converted to take Leeds back into the lead with just over 15 minutes remaining.
And relentless Leeds pressure on Wigan’s line in the final ten minutes was enough to see them home and ensure Sinfield, Peacock and New Zealand-born prop Kylie Leuluai, who will also retire, got the perfect send-off.
Defeat for Wigan, meanwhile, is their second on the bounce in the Grand Final and the 2013 champions will have to wait another 12 months in the pursuit to regain their title.