Leeds Rhinos came from 14-4 down to beat York City Knights 22-18 at the Totally Wicked Stadium to book their place in the Grand Final against St Helens.
York managed to draw first blood inside four minutes. Olivia Wood managed to get free and score by the posts. Emma Hardy added the conversion for an early six-point advantage.
That advantage became 10 points eight minutes later. Hardy showed quick feet to evade the Leeds defence and score the try. However, shoe could not convert her own try, as it drifted wide at the last moment.
Leeds were able to show their credentials with a quick response. A mistake at the back from York allowed Natasha Gaines to go over in the corner after a kick across field. Courtney Winfield-Hill’s conversion landed short, meaning Leeds still had a six-point deficit.
Just before the half-hour, York extended their lead. The chance seemed to have gone when Olivia Wood had a couple of Leeds defenders on her, but got an offload away to Kelsey Gentles, who used the space to her advantage. Hardy was off-target with the conversion attempt.
Leeds struck first in the second half to really make a game of it. Winfield-Hill broke clear, and shrugged off the last line of defence to score. She then converted her own try from in front of the sticks to bring Leeds back within four points.
Following a long delay for an injury to Eloise Hayward, Leeds levelled the match in spectacular fashion. Hanna Butcher kicked across field, found Winfield-Hill, who chipped over the top and managed to get her hands free and get the offload away, putting Sophie Nuttall over in the corner. Winfield-Hill missed the chance to put Leeds into the lead, her conversion attempt hit the bar.
Leeds completed the turnaround six minutes later. Nuttall broke free down the wing, cut inside and outran the last defender to score. Winfield-Hill converted to put Leeds ahead by six.
But York would not take that lying down. Hardy found a gap to score under the posts. However, she could not convert, her attempt from in front of the sticks hit the post, meaning the Knights still trailed by two points.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Leeds extended their lead. Winfield-Hill kicked a penalty after York were caught offside.
The Women’s showpiece event will take place at Headingley in just over a week’s time.
Leeds Rhinos: Caitlin Beevers, Natasha Gaines, Sophie Robinson, Fran Goldthorp, Sophie Nuttall, Hanna Butcher, Courtnry Winfield-Hill, Bethany Lockwood, Samantha Hulme, Aimee Staveley, Chloe Kerrigan, Elle Frain, Orla McCallion.
Subs: Keara Bennett, Danika Priim, Zoe Hornby, Eloise Hayward.
Head Coach: Lois Forsell
Tries: Gaines (17) Winfield-Hill (50), Nuttall (56,62)
Conversions: Winfield-Hill (51)
Penalty Goals: Winfield-Hill (71)
York City Knights: Georgie Hetherington, Kelsey Gentles, Tamzin Renouf, Savannah Andrade, Ashleigh Hyde, Emma Hardy, Katie Langan, Grace Field, Sinead Peach, Ellie Hendry, Emma Kershaw, Olivia Wood, Rhiannon Marshall.
Subs: Mary Tiplady, Alisha Clayton, Daisy Sanderson, Alex Stimpson.
Head Coach: Lindsay Anfield
Tries: Wood (4), Hardy (12), Gentles (29), Hardy (65)
Conversions: Hardy (5)