Cunningham makes career decision.
Rugby League, Updated:
[[views]], BY ClubCall
The RFL have cleared Rhinos winger Lee Smith to play in the Grand Final against a Saints side buoyed by Keiron Cunningham's new deal.
Smith will be a relieved man having avoided a ban from the RFL disciplinary committee despite being found guilty of kicking Phil Bailey in the match against Wigan last Friday. Matt Diskin was found to have no case to answer after being put on report for a high tackle meaning Brian McLennan is expected to field an unchanged team.
St Helens coach Daniel Anderson reports no injury problems and has Jason Cayless available for selection, although he hasn't played since August.
Saints go into Saturday's final boosted by the news that veteran hooker Cunningham has signed a new one-year deal to stay at Knowsley Road for a 15th year.
Saints longest-serving player has been in good form of late and says he can't wait to lead the team against Leeds in what promises to be a mouth watering clash.
Both teams have everything to play for. Leeds are the holders and will be determined not to relinquish their crown. On the other hand, Saints are going for the treble for the second time in three years, they are unbeaten since April and James Graham has just been voted Man of Steel by the Super League players. They will be supremely confident after their comprehensive victory over Leeds a fortnight ago. But that means they have played only twice in a month, and while a rest is often a plus point, it could mean that they have lost their edge, and will be slightly rusty. Leeds have had to work hard to reach the final, firstly in their defeat to St Helens, and then in their narrow and hard fought victory over Wigan. They may be more tired than Saints, but they are definitely battle-hardened.
Finals are often low-scoring, cautious affairs with teams unwilling to risk too much incase they make mistakes and let their opponents in. But Leeds will be desperate to show that they can match St Helens, and with exciting players like Leon Pryce in Saints' side they are more than capable of responding. It could be a thriller!