24th September 2018, 10:02 | wheelchair

Leeds Rhinos claim first-ever Grand Final title

Leeds Rhinos claim first-ever Grand Final title

Leeds Rhinos' Wheelchair Rugby League team made history in Gillingham on Saturday night as they overcame Halifax 54-44 to win the Wheelchair RL Grand Final.

The Rhinos stunned the favourites and league leaders in the showpiece at Medway Park - it was something of a revenge mission for Leeds who had been beaten by Halifax in the two previous title deciders.

"It has been a long road, a long nearly five years to get to this point," said Leeds captain James Simpson.

"We took our time, we said at certain stages of the game we were going to be really slow and methodical and then ramp it up when we were in the right place and that's what we did."

Leeds were impressive in the opening stages and led 30-16 against the Challenge Cup winners at half time.

Despite the best efforts of Halifax and England captain Jack Brown, the Rhinos stood firm and were 50-28 ahead with 17 minutes left.

Halifax did hit back to narrow the gap in the closing stages, but Josh Butler's late try settled and late Leeds nerves.

Rhinos' Tom Hallwell was named the game's most valuable player.

He said: "It is something new for Leeds, this is our first major trophy.

"We knew we had to put in a solid performance in defence. This season, our defence has been poor and we knew we had to do something and play off-the-cuff.

"There were moments in the game when I was pinching myself, thinking 'is this real?'

"I am gobsmacked, I can't believe we won."

Yorkshire Evening Post