29th September 2017, 22:01 |
Leeds Rhinos claimed a thrilling 18-16 semi-final victory over Hull to ensure that long-serving half-backs Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow will get an Old Trafford farewell.
The Rhinos prevailed in a tense clash at Headingley to secure an 10th Grand Final appearance and set up a showdown with Castleford Tigers.
That will provide a fitting farewell for McGuire and Burrow but Friday's defeat signalled the end for retiring Hull captain Gareth Ellis and there was no fairytale ending for Mahe Fonua, who is returning to the NRL.
Not only a legend on the field both sides of the 🌎 , but genuinely one of the nicest and most respected..@gazellis12 enjoy retirement pal!👏🏼— Paul Sculthorpe MBE (@PScully13) September 29, 2017
Leeds raced into a 12-0 lead, Stevie Ward powering his way to the line in the first play.
Kallum Watkins added the conversion and he was also on target after hooker Matt Parcell had got substitute prop Anthony Mullally romping through.
The shell-shocked Ladbrokes Challenge Cup winners gradually worked their way into the game and Ellis proved unstoppable after charging onto Danny Houghton's pass.
Rhinos players form a guard of honour to clap our legends from the field one last time pic.twitter.com/CyUeUgrVxG— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) September 29, 2017
Marc Sneyd added the goal to make it 12-6 at half-time and centre Jake Connor created a try for Fonua after the break.
Connor palmed the ball back from Sneyd's kick for second rower Sika Manu to score a try that put Hull in front for the first time , but Leeds picked themselves up and struck back when Liam Sutcliffe created a try from nothing with a weaving run to the line.
Watkins kept his nerve with the conversion to restore his side's advantage and the Rhinos clung on.