Rugby League World Cup 2013: Australia win eases 2008 hurt
Australia captain Cameron Smith said Saturday's World Cup win would go a long way to avenging defeat by New Zealand in the 2008 final.
The Kangaroos won 34-2 at a sold-out Old Trafford to claim the World Cup for the 10th time in their history.
Billy Slater Australia full-back
“New Zealand deserved it in 2008 but I thought we deserved it today”
Australia went through the tournament unbeaten, winning all six matches.
"I probably told a little white lie along the way that what happened in this final would not mean much against 2008," said Smith.
"But standing out on the field after the match, a little bit of the disappointment from back then was erased."
The last try Australia conceded in the World Cup was towards the end of the opening game on 26 October when Josh Charnley scored for England.
The Kangaroos then went 404 minutes without having their defence breached, the only points they conceded being one penalty apiece by Fiji and New Zealand.
Smith, who revealed the team had received a good luck message from cricket skipper Michael Clarke in the build-up to the final, said the defensive performance was a source of great pride.
"It is something that we can look to build on," said the Melbourne Storm hooker.
Australia have won the World Cup on a record 10 occasions, ahead of Great Britain (three) and New Zealand (one).
- 1957: Won by topping a four-team group played in Sydney and Brisbane
- 1968: Beat France 20-2 in Sydney
- 1970: Beat Great Britain 12-7 in Leeds
- 1975: Beat England 25-0 in Leeds
- 1977: Beat Great Britain 13-12 in Sydney
- 1988: Beat New Zealand 25-12 in Auckland
- 1992: Beat Great Britain 10-6 in London (pictured above)
- 1995: Beat England 16-8 in London
- 2000: Beat New Zealand 40-12 in Manchester
- 2013: Beat New Zealand 34-2 in Manchester
"We are very proud of the defensive effort since the first game. We were challenged by [coach] Tim Sheens and assistant coach David Furner to be the best defensive team in the tournament and I believe we have come away with that mantle."
Australia full-back Billy Slater was another to take satisfaction after the disappointment of the last World Cup.
"I don't know about banishing demons - we can't change the past - but I've always tried to put the past behind me and focus on improving my future," Slater told BBC 5 live.
"I haven't looked back too much but it is great to hold one of these medals and be a part of one of these sides. New Zealand deserved it in 2008 but I thought we deserved it today."
Asked whether he had seen a better Australian side, coach Tim Sheens said: "Not in my time. I am extremely proud. We came over and performed extremely well. It is a great privilege for me to coach this team."
Sheens has been in charge of the Kangaroos since 2009 but is now out of contract.
The 63-year-old refused to be drawn on whether he would sign a new deal, focusing instead on his team's performance against the Kiwis.
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney admitted his team had been well beaten on the day and said it was the best performance by the Kangaroos he had seen.
"Australia's performance today was nothing short of outstanding, we could just not get ourselves into the contest," said Kearney.
"Their performance was pretty faultless and they gave us a real lesson. That is as good as I've seen them play."