Cameron Munster and Latrell Mitchell have admitted Australia’s ranking played a major role in motivating the side prior to the Rugby League World Cup – and have made it clear they won’t be disrespected in that fashion again.
Prior to the RLWC, the star-studded Kangaroos were ranked fourth in the world, having not played a Test since 2019 due to COVID.
But on Sunday morning (AEDT), Australia left no doubt in the minds of rugby league fans across the world, claiming an impressive 30-10 victory in the final against an inspired Samoan outfit.
Speaking to Channel Nine after the match, Munster described the ranking as a ‘kick in the head’ and is glad to the Kangaroos could prove the doubters wrong.
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“It’s hard to put into words,” he said.
“We obviously had a goal at the start of the tournament to win the World Cup.
“I know we were ranked fourth, which was a bit of a kick in the head for us…we wanted to showcase what we were about.
“Samoa went out there and gave it their best shot – it’s outstanding from them and where they came from.
“I just want to congratulate them and their heritage – they have done their country proud, and we have done our country proud as well.”
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) November 19, 2022
Munster was instrumental in the 20-point win, while the likes of Cameron Murray and James Tedesco also had strong nights at Old Trafford.
But one man who was on a mission was ‘Trell Mit’, who crossed for a double and proved to be a deciding factor in the Aussie side’s victory.
Speaking to the media after the match, the 25-year-old said the Kangaroos should have been the world No.1 to begin with and hopes to see continued dominance in the years to come.
“We’re ranked No.1 now – we should have been all along,” Latrell said.
“We proved why and we’re going to keep proving it the next couple of years.
“To be honest, I actually dreamt about this last night, it sort of woke me up out of my sleep.
“I suppose if you didn’t have dreams you wouldn’t be able to achieve it. I followed mine and the boys set out to do something six or seven weeks ago to bring the trophy home…it’s surreal.
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“I’m just a country boy from Taree I suppose…I’ll remember this for the rest of my life, it’s something I’ve always wanted to tick off as a young fella.
“I’ve done a few other things in the game but this was No.1 for me and I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity.
“For myself, I could retire happy.”