LEEDS

Daily Express - - SPORT - Ross Hep­pen­stall

GRAND FINAL glory beck­ons again for Leeds, who will aim to add to their record seven Su­per League ti­tles when they meet Castle­ford at Old Traf­ford next Satur­day.

The Rhi­nos en­dured the in­dig­nity of a fight against rel­e­ga­tion dur­ing a night­mare 2016 cam­paign but they have showed signs of their old selves this season and an­other ti­tle would com­plete their res­ur­rec­tion.

Hull re­tained the Chal­lenge Cup last month but have not won at Head­in­g­ley for a decade.

Leg­endary Leeds duo Danny McGuire and Rob Bur­row made their final ap­pear­ances at home but will now have a chance to make it a fairy-tale farewell at Old Traf­ford.

Cap­tain McGuire was mak­ing his 450th ca­reer out­ing ahead of an end-of-season move to Hull KR, while Bur­row is re­tir­ing and join­ing the Rhi­nos back­room staff. The pair have con­trib­uted more than most in mak­ing Leeds the dom­i­nant force of the Su­per League era and were given a guard of hon­our be­fore kick-off.

There was the added sub-plot of Hull’s Gareth El­lis, who won two Grand Fi­nals with Leeds in 2007 and 2008, pre­par­ing to bring down the cur­tain on his own dis­tin­guished ca­reer.

McGuire is nor­mally the epit­ome of calm but he re­acted fu­ri­ously when Hull prop Liam Watts clat­tered him with a late chal­lenge.

From the sub­se­quent penalty, home­grown sec­ond-rower Ste­vie Ward drove through the heart of the Hull de­fence and stretched out an arm to score.

Kal­lum Watkins con­verted and Castle­ford coach Daryl Pow­ell watched on with in­trigue from the com­men­tary box as his team pre­pared to face the win­ners in seven days’ time.

Leeds con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate field po­si­tion and Hull could barely es­cape their own half, so it came as no sur­prise when McGuire pro­duced some of his old magic to dart past a vis­it­ing de­fender and usher prop An­thony Mul­lally over.

After Al­bert Kelly was de­nied by Watkins’ su­perb sav­ing tackle, Hull got off the mark when El­lis took Danny

Pic­ture: MARTIN RICKETT

GRAND DE­SIGNS: Ste­vie Ward goes over for Leeds early on

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