After a thrilling five weeks of action, Australia and Samoa headed to Old Trafford on Saturday to battle it out in the Rugby League World Cup final.
In a David v Goliath clash, the 11-time winners Australia took on Samoa, who were making their first-ever appearance in the final.
We look back at the final in what was a fitting climax to the tournament.
Australia were ante-post favourites heading into the Rugby League World Cup, and the bookmakers got it right once more, with the Kangaroos seeing off Samoa 30-10 in the final in Manchester. It was the Australians’ twelfth World Cup triumph and their third consecutive title, but they were made to work for it by the South Pacific Islanders.
Samoa started the game well, but Australia drew first blood when Latrell Mitchell crashed over after 14 minutes. And they added to their lead four minutes later when James Tedesco crossed the whitewash after an explosive break from Josh Addo-Carr.
And the Kangaroos weren’t done for the first half – Liam Martin scored his fourth try of the tournament to see his side go in 14-0 up at the half-time hooter. Samoa required a big second half, but it was once again Australia who struck first despite having Angus Crichton in the sin-bin.
Nathan Cleary delivered a well-timed pass to Cameron Murray to score and edge the Kangaroos to a 20-0 lead. Samoa kept plugging away, however, and they were rewarded when Brian To’o scored in the corner, with Stephen Crichton adding the extras.
Australia responded, though, with skipper James Tedesco going over for his second try of the match before Stephen Crichton scored an intercept try to give the Samoan fans another reason to celebrate.
However, it was fitting that the Kangaroos scored the last try of the final – Latrell Mitchell sliding in to complement his opening score of the match.
Australia’s World Cup victory was built on solid defence – they conceded a total of just 38 points over six matches on their way to lifting the trophy once more, a testament to the squad that Mal Maninga has built.
While Josh Addo-Carr went into the final looking to score a record-breaking 13th try of the tournament, despite coming up short, he put in an excellent performance and was involved in some key moments.
For Samoa, they just came up short against the serial-winners that are Australia, but the performance to reach a Rugby League World Cup final should not be underestimated for the Pacific island nation.
All eyes will now turn to France and the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, where Australia will again arrive as defending champions as they look to win a thirteenth title.