Lee Smith stole the thunder from Sean Long as the Leeds Rhinos beat St Helens to claim a historic third successive Super League Grand Final success. It was supposed to be the final farewell for Long at Old Trafford yesterday as he played his final game for the Saints. But it was Smith who enjoyed the glorious goodbye. He will swap league for union when he joins the London Wasps and marked the end of his Leeds career with a match-winning two-try performance. His second, seven minutes from time, was controversial, but ultimately decisive. Saints were shell-shocked. For Long, there was only despair at the end of his 12 years with the club. "It's not a fairy tale ending, I'm a bit gutted really," he admitted. He and Keiron Cunningham were instrumental in the early dominance for their side. Ferocious in defence, flamboyant in attack. And it was the man, tipped by Long himself as his long-term successor, who opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Jon Wilkin's kick deflected nicely into the path of Kyle Eastmond and he raced 20 yards to touch down. Eastmond, just 20, coolly converted his own try and a penalty 12 minutes later put Saints in control. But Leeds came back with a vengeance. With Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow's kicking and creativity crucial, the Rhinos made their mark to level before the break. After Sinfield was held short five yards out, up popped Matt Diskin to squeeze over for a 30th minute try. Sinfield hit the upright with the kick, but Smith cheered his captain seven minutes later. Danny McGuire's teasing kick put Saints under pressure in the right corner and Francis Meli blundered badly, scooping the ball up invitingly for Smith to score. Sinfield's drop goal right at the start of the half put Leeds ahead for the first time, but Mick Potter's Saints rallied again. A brilliant break down the right almost produced a try, started by Matt Gidley and finished by Ade Gardner. But the combination of Ryan Hall and Brent Webb, who appeared to use his knees, pushed Gardner into touch before he could ground the ball. A penalty from Eastmond did put Saints back ahead at 10-9, but Sinfield responded with two at the other end. It was tight and tense and hinged on two crucial calls by the video referee. Meli released Eastmond and he arrowed to the left corner before he was taken out of bounds by a shuddering challenge from Sinfield. Leeds then got another fortunate break in a decision that settled the outcome. McGuire was the architect with a kick that was snapped up by the alert Smith and he sped over for his second try. He appeared to be marginally offside, but the replays proved inconclusive and to the delight of his coach, Brian McClennan, history was confirmed as Sinfield, the Man of the Match, sent over the conversion. Just for good measure, Burrow fired over a drop goal.
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