New Zealand 2-34 Australia
Australia secured victory in the 2013 World Cup final at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon with a sensational 34-2 victory over reigning champions New Zealand.
In what was a repeat of the 2008 final, Australia had revenge on their mind and delivered an emphatic message of their dominance in the sport, winning the World Cup for a record 10th time.
The opening 20 minutes had indicated that a close contest was in store. However, from the moment that Billy Slater crossed the line after 19 minutes, the balance of play swung heavily in Australia's direction.
Even before Cooper Cronk eventually extended the Green and Gold lead 30 minutes in, Australia had a try denied by the video referee after an incredible tackle from Issac Luke denied Cronk in dramatic style.
Cronk, though, wasn't to be denied long as his try eventually came after a piece of creativity from the boot of Jarryd Hayne.
The faultless Johnathan Thurston added a penalty to give Australia a commanding 16-2 lead at the break—a lead which New Zealand would fail to even threaten in the second half.
Any steam that the Kiwis may have gathered at half-time was quickly released after the restart. Just 48 seconds later, Australia crossed once more through Slater to end the game as a contest.
Great pity the final of the RLWC has been so one-sided and never really a contest. Thanks for the tournament though; great entertainment.— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) November 30, 2013
Attacking down the near side through captain Cameron Smith and Thurston, the Kangaroos showed a ruthless streak to carve through the scrambling New Zealand defence.
The score visibly deflated New Zealand, while Australia began to play with the belief of a side who knew that the World Cup title was already in the bag.
Just 10 minutes later, winger Brett Morris raced onto a clever chip from Hayne to add a further score, while New Zealand continued to struggle to gain territory against the outstanding Australian defence.
While the Kiwis managed to limit the damage in the final half hour, Morris was still able to cross once more to add the icing on the cake with just 10 minutes remaining.
Hayne was once more the key man, intercepting a pass from World Player of the Year Sonny Bill Williams and racing clear before offloading for the onrushing Morris to race clear.
So dominant were New Zealand that the Australian celebrations had begun well in advance of the final hooter, having sucked all ambition out of their opponents.
Having experienced heartbreak against the same opponents five years ago, the delight was doubly sweet for Smith and his side.
In what was billed as a battle of the big name players, it was Australia's who came up trumps on the day, suffocating New Zealand as an attacking force.
Having not conceded a try since the opening day of the tournament, the Kangaroos' success has been one built on an outstanding defence. However, they also showed at the Theatre of Dreams that they can tear even the strongest defence to shreds when their attack is given the ball in attacking areas.