Carl Ablett’s 17 Finals with the Rhinos

Carl Ablett announced he will retire at the end of the 2019 season after an incredible 16 seasons with the Rhinos.

During his career he played in 17 Finals and won 11. Here we look back at those games.

2007 – Grand Final v St Helens

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A hand injury to Nick Scruton against Salford in early August gave Carl a chance to earn a spot in the team and he never looked back, playing in the remaining seven games of the season including his first Grand Final. He only featured for six minutes in the second half but he had secured the first of his Grand Final winners’ rings.

2008 – World Club Challenge v Melbourne Storm

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Carl came off the bench with the Rhinos narrowly leading 11-4 with ten minutes to go. Melbourne mounted a late rally and looked to have scored when Anthony Quinn touched down in the corner, however the replay showed that Ablett had taken him into touch before he grounded it and Leeds had secured the title.

2008 – Grand Final v St Helens

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A knee injury suffered by Clinton Toopi in the Challenge Cup semi final forces Brian McClennan to shuffle his pack and Carl becomes a star at centre. A run of eight games at centre is capped with the 24-16 win over Saints at Old Trafford.

2009 – World Club v Manly Sea Eagles

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Manly defeat the Rhinos at Elland Road in a tough experience for the home side. Carl returned to the second row for this final but Leeds were never able to put the visitors under any real pressure and miss out on retaining their title.

2009 – Grand Final v St Helens

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The Rhinos make history as they win a third successive Super League title by defeating their old enemy again at Old Trafford. Carl started the game in the second row for the League Leaders having scored a crucial try in the earlier meeting in the league that effectively sealed top spot.

2010 – Challenge Cup Final v Warrington

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Carl’s first appearance at Wembley was an unhappy one. A three week ban for a late challenge on Sam Tomkins a month before meant he lost his place in the starting line up and the Rhinos were unable to beat Tony Smith’s side at Wembley.

2011 – Challenge Cup Final v Wigan

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Once again there was frustration for the Rhinos at Wembley as they lost out to Wigan. Carl started at centre with Keith Senior having been ruled out for the season with a knee injury earlier in the season. Carl crossed for a try with 21 minutes to go but it was immediately cancelled out by an effort by Jeff Lima and the Warriors held on to win 28-18.

2011 – Grand Final v St Helens

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Perhaps Ablett’s finest hour. A fractured cheek suffered in the final regular game of the season threatened to end his season. He missed the opening play off win but produced a try-scoring performance at Warrington in the semi. He was on the score sheet in the final before revealing post match that he had worn a specially imported head guard to protect his injured cheek in the play offs.

2012 – World Club Challenge v Manly

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Back at Emerald Headingley, Carl capped a memorable night with the match winning try against the Sea Eagles as he touched down a loose ball in the final minutes to seal a 26-12 victory for the newly crowned World Champions.

2012 – Challenge Cup Final v Warrington

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With Brent Webb ruled out through injury, Carl was back in the centres and back at Wembley to face Warrington as Zak Hardaker moved from centre to full back. However, the Rhinos were unable to lift the Cup Final hoodoo as they suffered another loss to the Wolves.

2012 – Grand Final v Warrington

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Another Old Trafford date but a new opponent in Warrington. Few gave the fifth placed Rhinos a chance against the Cup winners but Ablett produced an outstanding display. He set up Kevin Sinfield for an early try and then crossed himself just on the hour mark for a crucial score in the 26-18 win.

2013 – World Club Challenge v Melbourne

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Injuries to Zak Hardaker and Ben Jones-Bishop sees Carl back at centre for another major final. The Rhinos battle hard against the NRL Premiers Melbourne Storm but they can not overcome Cameron Smith’s side on a tough night at Headingley.

2014 – Challenge Cup Final v Castleford

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The Rhinos finally lift the Challenge Cup as Ablett plays his part in helping the Rhinos to victory over Castleford Tigers at Wembley.

2015 – Challenge Cup Final v Hull KR

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The Rhinos run riot at Wembley against Hull KR with Ablett collecting his second winners Challenge Cup winners medal.

2015 – Grand Final v Wigan Warriors

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The Rhinos record a historic treble as they add the Grand Final to the League Leaders Shield and Challenge Cup. Ablett is key to the victory in the second row as he takes on Wigan’s power based game and leads the charge for the Rhinos. Ablett was the only ever-present in the side for the whole Treble winning season.

2017 – Grand Final v Castleford Tigers

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Carl Ablett sets a new Super League record for most Grand Final appearances without a loss as he returns to Old Trafford for a seventh time and once again comes away with a winners ring.

2018 – World Club Challenge v Melbourne Storm

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Having missed out in the previous World Club Challenge against North Queensland Cowboys two years earlier due to an injury Ablett once again had the chance to take on Australia’s best. The game saw the Rhinos travel Down Under for the first time, giving a good account of themselves before eventually losing to the star-studded Storm outfit.