Moon sets his sights on treble for Leeds Rhinos legends

Joel Moon.

Joel Moon.

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GIVEN they have the regal Kallum Watkins in their ranks, it is often easily forgotten that Leeds Rhinos boast a second world-class centre, too.

Joel Moon was arguably man-of-the-match on Friday night as he helped Leeds defeat St Helens 20-13 in a bruising Super League semi-final that sends them on to Old Trafford to face Wigan Warriors in Saturday’s showpiece.

Making a series of coruscating breaks to relieve pressure for his side, and stooping low to take possession and feed Ryan Hall for the decisive try, the Australian again oozed panache, even if he admitted it was hard work.

Moon, 27, said: “Saints played really well. It was like the week before (the last-second win at Huddersfield Giants that secured the League Leaders’ Shield).

“We hung in there and believed in each other and we came up with the win. We’ve got one game left now and, hopefully, we can pull another one out.”

Moon was bought from Salford Red Devils at the end of 2012 when Leeds had just won a second successive Grand Final yet they have failed to reach Old Trafford since.

He has won the Challenge Cup with them in each of the last two years but is relishing his first taste of Old Trafford.

“I’ve always wanted to get to a Grand Final,” admitted the former Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors star, who has scored 14 tries in 31 games this season.

“I know Leeds have been there a few times, so to get there with this group of players gives me a lot of confidence.

“There’s still a lot to work on. I missed a few tackles and I could have done a bit more in attack on Friday, but I guess all the boys played well.

“There’s a few things to improve on in training, though.”

Moon – who will face in-form John Bateman on Saturday – admits the squad is desperate to see departing legends Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai and Kevin Sinfield sign-off as treble winners.

“That was massive,” he said, about knowing the Saints game would have been their last match if it had gone the wrong way.

“We always had that in the back of our head. They didn’t want us to rely on that, but we knew we had to do it for them, as well as the team. To get to Old Trafford is massive and I am looking forward to it.”

Second-row Brett Delaney could be a doubt after leaving Headingley on crutches with his knee in a brace.

Fellow back-row Stevie Ward undergoes a knee reconstruction after injuring ligaments at Huddersfield and dashing hopes of an England debut against New Zealand this autumn.

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