Win eases pain of 2008, admits Smith

Australia are favourites to retain the Rugby League World Cup

Australia‘s win over New Zealand at Old Trafford means that Cameron Smith now has a World Cup medal to go with the raft of honours he’s won during his career.

Smith admitted post-match that the 34-2 victory helped extinguish some lingering bad memories from the last tournament, when the Kangaroos were beaten 34-20 by the Kiwis in the final.

He said: “I can’t remember the last time I played in such a complete game of football by an Australia side.

“I don’t want to compare this to Origin or Grand Finals, this is something you dream of doing as a kid, winning a World Cup for Australia.

“Every time you pull on the jersey it’s a special moment in your football career and tonight couldn’t have gone any better for us.

“We worked hard for the last four weeks in preparation for this game, and it’s pleasing when that final siren goes to know that all your hard work has counted for something.

“I probably told a little white lie along the way that this didn’t mean much against what happened in 2008, but standing out on the field after the match, I think a little bit of that disappointment left from 2008 disappeared.”

The Melbourne Storm hooker, who has won the Grand Final and World Club Challenge at club level in the past 18 months, has a host of individual honours to his name, and also captained Queensland to their eighth consecutive State of Origin series victory earlier this year.

The World Cup victory has been made even more remarkable by the fact that Australia have not conceded a try in five consecutive matches, only having their line breached by England in the tournament’s opening game.

He added: “We’re very proud of our defence since that first game. We were pretty much challenged by (Tim) Sheens and Dave Furner to improve our defence, and really be the best defensive team in the thgis tournament.

“When you’re playing a team like New Zealand, and I’ve heard people say that’s the best Kiwi team ever, when they’re in good form and not to concede a try is a great effort.”

Smith also revealed that he had received a good luck message from Michael Clarke, captain of the Australia cricket team, currently doing battle with England in an Ashes series Down Under.

“I got a message from Michael Clarke before the match, saying he and the boys would be watching the boys from home, and be right behind us. I think Birdy (Greg Bird) got a message from Brett Haddin too, so I hope they turn up in the second test match and give it to the poms!”

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