Daniel Anderson was denied a fairytale end to his reign as St Helens manager as Leeds won the second of three successive Super League Grand Finals on this day in 2008.
The Rhinos became only the second team after the Saints to successfully defend their Super League title and 12 months later they completed a hat-trick of consecutive titles at Old Trafford.
All three wins in Manchester went to St Helens, who enjoyed an astonishing 23-match unbeaten run heading into the final in front of a crowd of 68,810 who braved the rainy conditions.
While Anderson – who later took over as manager of National Rugby League club Parramatta Eels – was eliminated in second place, his former New Zealand assistant coach Brian McClennan celebrated a famous 24-16 victory in his first season at the helm.
The hero of the hour for the Rhinos was full-back Lee Smith, who was forced off the wing in a late forced substitution following Brent Webb’s withdrawal and went on to produce an outstanding performance that he could only have dreamed of.
An hour before kick-off it began to rain and it was inevitable that whoever could find footing on the slippery surface would decide the outcome of the exciting duel.
And it was the sure-footed Danny McGuire who created the decisive moment, weaving past wrong-footed defenders to claim the winning try after 62 minutes.
McGuire had gained possession through a foul by St Helens winger Ade Gardner, who was not the first to be fooled by the unpleasant conditions that turned rugby league’s showpiece event into something of a lottery.
But there was no denying the superiority of the Rhinos, who performed miracles to reverse the humiliation of a 38-10 defeat to the Saints just two weeks earlier, as well as the loss of the inspirational Webb.