21 May, 2024
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Kangaroos surge to World Cup title win


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New team, same result.

Australia have claimed a third-straight Rugby League World Cup title as they saw off Samoa in a 30-10 win in Manchester to underline their status as one of sport’s great sports teams.

Ranked in fourth spot coming into this tournament, Mal Meninga’s side left the 67, 502 fans inside Old Trafford in little doubt as to who was the game’s No. 1 nation as they put six tries on the underdogs.

Australia entered this competition under more pressure than ever before, after some of their best eligible players had been wooed into playing for Samoa and Tonga.

After three years without a game – the last of which in 2019 was a defeat to the Tongans – their standing and reverence in league’s world order had been in question.

But after blooding 13 debutants on this tour and conceding just 42 points through six games, Meninga’s side signalled the start of a newly-successful era in green and gold.

“This is only the beginning of this team, I can assure you,” Meninga said.

“All these guys are going to be together for the next three to six years.

“There were times in that game when Samoa threw everything at us and we handled it really well. We came back with more energy.”

Captain James Tedesco led Australia’s procession to glory, winning the man of the match award, scoring twice and running for more than 200 metres.

It was the only title missing from Tedesco’s trophy cabinet but he now boasts a full set after the Kangaroos brought Samoa’s fairytale journey to the final to an end.

They conceded 60 points at the hands of tournament hosts England in the opener but slowly built into the competition by knocking off Tonga and the English to face Australia in their first-ever final.

Australia raced out to a 14-0 lead at halftime with tries to Latrell Mitchell, Tedesco and Liam Martin and Samoa were unable to claw them back in.

“The result was disappointing but not the effort nor the commitment of these guys,” said Samoa coach Matt Parish. “I couldn’t be prouder or happier about the group.

Parish’s side didn’t have it easy. Chanel Harris-Tavita, who was filling in at hooker in his final game before taking a hiatus, had an eventful evening.

He wasn’t awarded a 40-20 in the first half, was held up over the line, and then got knocked out by a stray elbow from Kangaroos forward Angus Crichton in the 45th minute.

“We didn’t get too many bounces did we?,” said Parish, who blew up at the fact Crichton wasn’t sent off.

Even when Australia were down to 12 men, they were able to cut Samoa apart with Cameron Murray further extending their lead to 20-0.

Samoa scored two late tries through Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o but their hopes of a comeback were quelled when Tedesco and Mitchell added their second tries late in the game, enabling Australia to celebrate their ninth title in the event’s last 10 editions.


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