Danny McGuire guides Leeds Rhinos to Grand Final glory over error-strewn Castleford Tigers

Danny McGuire dives over to score in the second half
Danny McGuire dives over to score in the second half
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Castleford Tigers 6 Leeds Rhinos 24

THERE was air of familiarity to this Grand Final as, on yet another wet, rainy Old Trafford night, Leeds Rhinos produced a clinical display to become Super League champions once more.

Tom Briscoe celebrates scoring the Rhinos opening try.

Tom Briscoe celebrates scoring the Rhinos opening try.

It was their eighth title success since 2004 and, as they ruthlessly picked apart the favourites Castleford Tigers, how you could tell; it was equally obvious this was their West Yorkshire rivals' first.

Daryl Powell's side may have swept to a maiden League Leaders' Shield in emphatic style but when it mattered most they lacked the control and nerve to win a first league championship in 91 years.

Leeds, on the other hand, had Danny McGuire, a veteran of all their previous seven Grand Finals and playing his 424th game for the club, expertly guiding his side around in the rain, kicking them to death with Joel Moon.

Veteran half-back McGuire was a clear Harry Sunderland Trophy winner as man-of-the-match, Super League's record try-scorer fittingly scoring twice more in his last match before joining Hull KR.

Ryan Hall passes the ball to Matt Parcell as Jake Webster holds him.

Ryan Hall passes the ball to Matt Parcell as Jake Webster holds him.

The 34-year-old - who scored in their first Grand Final win in 2004 - nudged a drop goal over at the end of both halves, the first looking crucial at 7-0, the second a lovely gloss to his wonderful Rhinos career in the 77th minute.

By the time his old pal Rob Burrow - retiring after a lifetime at Headingley - came on in the 63rd minute for his swansong, Leeds were already 17-0 ahead having capitalised on wayward Castleford's countless dropped balls.

Still, Burrow did have time to dab in a kick for McGuire's second as Mike McMeeken failed to collect, heaping misery on Castleford who - having vanquished so many this season - only managed to avoid being kept pointless themselves when Alex Foster scored a scant consilation in the 79th minute.

They, of course, will look to the absence of their star full-back Zak Hardaker - dropped on Thursday due to a breach of club rules - as a major factor in this downfall.

McGuire gets the acclamation from his teammates after scoring

McGuire gets the acclamation from his teammates after scoring

However, for all they did miss the England international's guile in attack, it is hard to imagine him having had much of an effect against his former club given the mood Leeds were in in front of a 72,827 crowd.

It was the Rhinos' first win against Castleford in nine games dating back to 2015 and what a time to end that rut.

It wasn't the classic everyone had hoped for - the conditions guaranteed that - but Leeds won't care one jot as they complete their recovery from finishing ninth last year.

Second-row Stevie Ward, having had surgery on a dislocated shulder a week ago, remarkably played all 80 minutes, underlining the bravery and work wthic of this Leeds side who many doubted could overcome Castleford in a record-extending 10th Grand Final.

Although Castleford started solidly enough, Oli Holmes and Adam Milner rattling in some fierce hits in the first set and their side looking comfortable in possession, soft errors started t creep in.

They were unforced mistakes from their usually safest optins, too - Paul McShane, Grant Millington and Milner all spilling with no one near them.

It meant Powell's side could build little pressure especially with Luke Gale's kicks mainly going down the throat of Jack Walker, too, the 18-year-old full-back again preferred to Ashton Golding by Brian McDermott.

The solitary try of the first period came from a Tigers handling error, winger Greg Minikin dawdling when running back for a kick before fumbling behind his own line to concede a drop-out.

In the next set, McGuire hoisted a high kick and Tom Briscoe rose to claim it. It was the 12th minute and the first time Leeds have ventured into Castleford's 20 but they made it count.

Kallum Watkins converted and, after Tigers captain Michael Shenton became the next to relinquish possession - he will argue the ball was illegally ripped by Mitch Garbutt - Watkins thought he had slid over off McGuire's grubber.

Howver, video referee Phil Bentham over-ruled James Child and the effort was disallowed.

Castleford finally found some rythm after Briscoe conceded a needless penalty blocking Benny Roberts when Walker had already safely collected a kick.

They turned down an easy two points and seemed to have unlocked Leeds with a slick move but just as Greg Eden sliced through, McGuire just managed to poke at him to make the ball come lose as Super League's top try-scorer headed for the line.

Jy Hitchcox did get over soon after but Gale had run behind his own man before dinking in the grubber.

Briscoe, too, had another effort disallowed, brilliantly chasing McGuire's kick after Holmes spilled but slightly nudged McShane in the race for the loose ball.

However, after Junior Moors coughed up next - it wouldn't be the prop's last handling error - Leeds claimed a drop-goal via McGuire with the last play of the half.

Typically, it was the veteran half-back who stepped up at the start of the second period, too.

Once more Castleford wasted valuable possession and, so, when Eden spilled Moon's kick, McGuire was on hand to jubilantly dive over im the 52nd minute.

Castleford just crumbled thereafter, failing to master the conditions and barely getting out of their own half.

When Walker - the youngest ever Grand Final winner at 18 years and 60 days - made a dazzling break, Moon put Briscoe in for his second although officials missed his clear forward pass.

Watkins nailed the touchline conversion - a la Kevin Sinfield in his pomp - and converted McGuire's second, too, to complete a memorable night.

Castleford Tigers: Eden; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Hitchcox; Roberts, Gale; Massey, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner. Substitutes: Cook, Millington, Moors, Foster.

Leeds Rhinos: Walker; Briscoe, Watkins, Sutcliffe, Hall; Moon, McGuire; Singleton, Parcell, Garbutt, Jones-Buchanan, Ward, Cuthbertson. Substitutes: Burrow, Ablett, Ferres, Mullally.

Referee: James Child (Dewsbury)