Experience key for Leeds, says Leuluai
14:00 AEST Sun Oct 7 2012

Kylie Leuluai insisted big-match experience was the key for Leeds as the Rhinos defeated Warrington 26-18 to win the Super League Grand Final.

For Leeds it was a case of history repeating itself after they claimed Super League's top prize for the second year in a row after languishing in fifth in the regular season table.

In a rematch of the Challenge Cup final, won by Tony Smith's Warrington earlier this season, this time it was defending Super League and World Club Challenge champions Leeds who took the silverware at Old Trafford.

Kevin Sinfield scooped the Harry Sunderland trophy for his 14-point haul that proved the difference in addition to tries from Ryan Hall, Ben Jones-Bishop and Carl Ablett.

Warrington were making their first appearance in the season-ending showpiece, in comparison to Leeds who were playing in their eighth and have won five of the last six Grand Finals.

And Kiwi prop Leuluai, who has won five Super League titles in his time in Yorkshire, admitted that it was an honour to be associated with a team that always seems to produce on the big stage.

"Our reputation is as Grand Final specialists and that desire to never give up is what wrestled back that momentum," Leuluai said.

"We've had our highs and lows and it's been a tough season. The thing about this team is that we like to correct our errors and I think we have done.

"I've won the Grand Final five times here. My kids are born here, this is a home away from home. I've been here six seasons now.

"I've got a house in Leeds, my kids go to school here, and I'm proud to be associated with this club.

"I'm proud to have the supporters we do have and you can probably call me a Yorkshireman now."

Meanwhile, former Wests Tiger Brett Hodgson insists Warrington's final heartache will make them stronger in the future.

Hodgson, who kicked three goals on the night, admitted that it was experience that proved the difference in the end.

"It's an experience for us, if nothing else, to play here with a great crowd and a great atmosphere. It hurts at the moment, but it'll be alright," he said.

"I think Leeds' experience was the difference. They stayed composed, even when they went behind a couple of times on the scoreboard.

"I felt we showed a bit of composure ourselves in the first half to get ourselves level at half time. But we'll have a look at this at some stage and we'll learn some valuable lessons.

"We'll still be happy with the season that we've had. If you've said to us at the start of the year that we were going to be in both finals this year, then we'd have been pleased with that.

"We'll improve again next year and I'm looking forward to it already."

Smith agreed with his full-back's opinion, insisting his side would bounce back stronger.

"We've had a terrific season," he added. "We are progressing as a club and as a team and this will drive us.

"If you do lose one it will drive us and we're pretty much the same squad next year so this will help us."

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