Tedesco lauds 'special' Australia bond as Kangaroos triumph at Rugby League World Cup

By Sports Desk November 19, 2022

James Tedesco pinpointed the "special bond" within the Australia squad as the driving factor for Saturday's Rugby League World Cup triumph.

Australia captain Tedesco crossed over for two tries, as did Latrell Mitchell, in a 30-10 victory over Samoa as the Kangaroos cruised to a 12th world crown at Old Trafford.

The Australians have won their last 19 matches on English soil in the competition, in which they have reached every final since 1957, and Tedesco lauded the unity between his side after victory.

"It is pretty unbelievable. This group of blokes came over here six or seven weeks ago and we've got such a special bond," he told BBC Sport.

"COVID-19 has killed us for three years, not being able to play for our country, but we came here early and got along straight away.

"We created that connection from the start and wanted to work hard for each other."

Samoa missed the chance for a second-half fightback after Angus Crichton was fortunate to only be sin-binned for a high tackle on Chanel Harris-Tavita.

Cameron Murray extended the lead despite the one-man disadvantage as late tries for Brian To'o and Stephen Crichton proved a mere consolation for Samoa, who were playing in their first World Cup final.

Australia head coach Mal Meninga says he never had any doubts his side would hold off Samoa's advances to secure more silverware.

"It's fantastic. It's one of those games and you sit up there," Meninga said. The first half was expectational, we did what we needed to do.

"In the second half we scrambled well, a man down but we still scored points. It's what you do, you work for each other. I wasn't nervous, I'm confident in this footy team.

"Defensively, we only had 12 against a Samoa side who threw everything, I was still comfortable."

Meninga hailed the "exceptional" Tedesco as a "worthy man of the match" before praising the togetherness of his World Cup-winning side.

"They're committed to each other. There is respect and humility for our jersey, for the opposition," he added.

"We brought our best game tonight. We've had a long year but have been rewarded for effort tonight. What a way to finish our 2022 season."

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