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Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and James Tedesco described winning the World Cup as their greatest career moment and revealed the Kangaroos had been driven by a desire to return to the top of the IRL World Rankings.

Mitchell, Addo-Carr and Tedesco have each won multiple NRL premierships and State of Origin series but the 30-10 defeat of Samoa at Old Trafford was the first time any of the star trio had achieved World Cup glory.

“It is definitely a special moment I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life,” said an emotional Mitchell, who scored two tries.

“It is something I have always wanted to tick off as a young fella. I have done a few things in the game, but this is No.1 for me.”

Big game Latrell to the fore

Addo-Carr said: “I have achieved a lot in this game and I have been blessed with being a part of some great teams but this is definitely up there. In 50-years or 20-years, I can speak about this moment to my kids and grandkids”.

For Tedesco, who also scored two tries and was named player of the final, it was a special moment as he had played in the previous two World Cups for Italy but is now the Australian captain.

"That's the highlight of the career, captaining your country to win the World Cup,” Tedesco said. “It just feels pretty surreal, winning at Old Trafford," Tedesco said.

Tedesco secures a double and player of the match honours

"The last three years we haven’t been able to put this jersey on and represent Australia, so it was burning for a lot of guys to come over to this World Cup and represent well, and we did that, so hopefully our ranking has gone up."

The Kangaroos have now won the past three World Cup finals, but Mal Meninga’s men came into the postponed tournament ranked No.4 on the IRL World Ranking as they had played just four Tests since 2017 and lost two.

New Zealand, Tonga and England were ranked ahead of Australia and it has been a sore point among the squad during the seven week campaign.

While the IRL World Rankings are finalised each June and December, it is almost certain that the Kangaroos will return to the top spot, while the Jillaroos will retain their No.1 position after thumping the Kiwi Ferns 54-4.

“We are ranked No.1 now, we should have been all along, and we proved why - and we are going to keep proving it for the next couple of years,” Mitchell said.

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup Champions

“I want to keep wearing the jersey with pride and keep representing Australia.”

With the Kangaroos not having played England since the 2017 World Cup final, there is a thirst in England for Australia to return next year but Mitchell said: “England has got to come to us now, we will take them on in Oz”.

Australia were heavy favourites to beat Samoa, who lost eight players since their 24-man squad was named after the NRL grand final but managed to overcome a 60-6 loss in the tournament opener to beat Tonga and England.

However, Addo-Carr said he and centre Jack Wighton had been unable to sleep due to nerves, while Mitchell revealed that he had a dream about the final.

“To be honest, I actually dreamed about this last night,” Mitchell said. “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 and I followed mine. It was this moment, holding the trophy. We set out to do something six or seven weeks ago, to bring the trophy home … it is surreal.

“I am just a country boy from Taree and my dad gave me a kick up the arse at the age of 15 to chase something and be something. I have been able to do that.

“It’s been six or seven weeks now since I left my kids. I haven’t been able to see them … but it’s all worth it now.

“I get to hold that trophy, I get to have that jersey hanging on my wall and I can look at it in 10, 12 or 15 years and be really proud of the bunch of boys in the team.

“We all sacrificed family time to be with this team and it’s all worth it now.”

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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