Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Danny McGuire says he worked tirelessly in the Grand Final to ensure "irreplaceable" trio Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai retired from rugby league as treble winners.
McGuire scored two trademark first-half tries either side of Joel Moon's effort to give Leeds a 16-6 lead and then produced a telling high kick for Josh Walters' match-winning score.
The Rhinos were forced to dig deep on a number of occasions as Wigan threw everything at them during a thrilling Super League finale and McGuire admitted emotion played a big role in Leeds' 22-20 success.
"We were all a bit emotional and felt a little bit drained early on," McGuire said.
"Three of my best mates are not going to be playing with me next year. Psychologically you try to put that to the back of your mind but it's always there.
"You want to send them out on the best terms and fortunately we were able to do that through sheer determination and hard work.
"It'll be weird not having the Sinfield shirt next to mine on a Friday night.
"I just really wanted to play as well as I could and run my blood to water for JP, Kev and Kylie because they really deserved to go out on a high tonight. They are irreplaceable."
Sinfield, who will switch codes to join Yorkshire Carnegie next month, came up with some crucial plays and fittingly kicked the winning points - one of three conversions - to cement his place as the most successful captain in Leeds' history.
"To top my career off with a treble in my final year is unbelievable. I'm really thankful and really proud," said Sinfield.
"To finish on an ending like tonight against a great team and for it to be so tough out there, to come through at the end was brilliant."
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said his side "were pushed beyond where they thought they could go" as they added their seventh Super League crown to the Challenge Cup and League Leaders' Shield.
"It's been such an exhausting season," he added. "I still don't think we've recovered from Wembley, by the way. We still don't have that many training.
"Those games aren't won through execution of skill - they're won through endeavour, will and determination, with this group anyway.
"To do the treble is brilliant and will stay with us forever."
Wigan played their full part in a Grand Final which will live long in the memory, adding to Joe Burgess' opener with tries from Dom Manfredi and Matty Bowen as they launched a stirring second-half fightback.
Ultimately, though, they came up just short for the second successive year at Old Trafford.
"They started the game better than us and I thought we dominated the second half but didn't put enough points on the board to win the game," Warriors coach Shaun Wane said.
"I'm proud of the effort in the second half; we were just a bit dumb in the first half.
"They've won it and well done to them. They're a champion team and never give in. But I'm so proud of our effort.
"A lot of players are coming to an end of an era there and we're just starting. We've got some good young players coming through and we're in a positive place.
"It hurts like hell today, like nothing before, but we'll be there for many years to come."