Leeds Rhinos domestic treble closes 'golden' chapter

By Matt Newsum & Andrew AloiaBBC Sport
Leeds Rhinos lift the Super League title
Leeds capped off a whirlwind few months by beating Wigan in the Grand Final

It was, as many of the Leeds Rhinos players put it after the match, the perfect finish.

Saturday's 22-20 win against Wigan in the 2015 Grand Final completed a treble of trophies in the final season for three players who have become synonymous with the blue and amber and ensured their legendary status.

Kevin Sinfield - a one-club man whose dedication brought him captaincy of his country - raised the trophy aloft for the seventh time as skipper.

Jamie Peacock, a warrior adored by the Headingley faithful, played through the pain barrier to drag Leeds to victory.

Kylie Leuluai lived up to the nickname 'Concrete' with another tough, uncompromising performance to continue his 100% record in Grand Finals.

BBC Sport looks at the legacy left as a golden era in Leeds' history is somewhat brought to a close, and the future that awaits.

Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield and Kylie Leuluai
Peacock, Sinfield and Leuluai signed off their Leeds careers
Read more on a Grand Final to remember
Leeds hold off Wigan to win Old Trafford thriller
Relive how Leeds won the domestic treble
Departing trio gave Rhinos 'edge'

'Greatest achievement of career'

Leeds became the third side of the Super League era to complete the treble - Peacock has been part of two of them.

It was in 2003 that he claimed the Challenge Cup, League Leaders' Shield and Super League title with Bradford Bulls. It was also the year the prop collected his only Man Of Steel Award as Super League best player.

The toll of winning the Challenge Cup, coupled with the intensity of Super League's new format, winning the League Leaders' Shield in the final minute and going on to win in front of a Grand Final record crowd, made this the finest moment of the 37-year-old's career.

Jamie Peacock
Jamie Peacock believes Leeds' treble will be difficult for anyone to repeat

"It is the greatest achievement of any team that I have played in," Peacock said. "It is incredibly tough and I'm doubtful that it will ever be done again.

"I say that with the greatest respect to Leeds and the other teams, but I know how difficult it has been - with the new structure, where Wembley is positioned in the season - to do what we've done.

"You saw our dip in form after Wembley, it wasn't through a lack in trying. It was just through the emotional effort that Wembley takes out of you.

"I've never been part of a season that has as many moments so close together and so many big performances. I feel fortunate to be in a great team."

'Leeds bigger than any trio'

While Peacock believes the treble will not be repeated, he insists his and Leuluai's retirement and captain Sinfield's departure to union will not signal the end of Leeds' success.

"Culture lasts beyond any person. I think it withstands the loss of any individual," Peacock said.

Danny McGuire and Kevin Sinfield
Danny McGuire (left) will have to get used to life without team-mate Kevin Sinfield

"The culture that they have within Leeds Rhinos will withstand the loss of me, no problem."

Winger Tom Briscoe, who scored a Challenge Cup record five tries to help Leeds secure the first piece of their treble in August, said the departing trio will continue to inspire Rhinos players.

"We have learned from the best and we will take that into next year," he said.

Josh Walters's try to win the match, the emergence of Stevie Ward and Jimmy Keinhorst as a back-row unit and Liam Sutcliffe's return from injury next term all point to a bright future.

And with man of the match Danny McGuire still orchestrating things from half-back, 33-year-old Rob Burrow showing himself to be at his influential best in recent weeks and full-back Zak Hardaker collecting the Man of Steel prize last week, the Rhinos are still bursting with game-breaking, proven talent.

"In the three guys that are leaving, it is a lot of experience but there is a hell of a lot of experience left," Briscoe said.

The Golden Boys

For so long Leeds' creative axis has revolved around the skill sets of Sinfield, McGuire and Burrow, all of whom emerged around the same time.

Their threat was a crucial part of the Grand Final success, notably with former East Leeds amateur McGuire winning man of the match.

Danny McGuire
Danny McGuire lifts the Harry Sunderland trophy for the first time

"It was really nice," McGuire said. "I was saying to Ryan Hall in the dressing room that I'd been second in the Lance Todd a few times, but this is something that comes second to winning the final.

"I just wanted to do well for the lads."

Burrow added: "Generations come and go, but you won't see one better than this.

"We have to enjoy seeing these lads play while we can because there will never be another Sinfield, Peacock or Kylie Leuluai."

Four months, three prizes

Some great players go a whole career without winning a major honour, so the story of Mitch Garbutt is a unique one.

Few players will have enjoyed such a whirlwind arrival as the former Brisbane Broncos prop.

Signed in June to bolster the front row, the 26-year-old New South Welshman has won three trophies within six months.

Mitch Garbutt
Mitch Garbutt will play an integral part in the next era for Leeds Rhinos

"It's very surreal, I couldn't have asked for anything better," he said. "I am just lucky to play in a great side."

Even in his short stint with the Rhinos, Garbutt is fully aware of the legend status surrounding the departing trio.

"They're not just great players, they're great people in general," he added. "They don't just care about the team, they give back to the community as well."

Listen - Sinfield talks to BBC Radio 5 live about his career highlights