Meninga lauds players as Roos reclaim Four Nations

New Zealand's Jesse Bromwich is surrounded by Australia's Aaron Woods, Trent Merrin and Cameron Smith during the final of the Four Nations.
New Zealand's Jesse Bromwich is surrounded by Australia's Aaron Woods, Trent Merrin and Cameron Smith during the final of the Four Nations. Martin Rickett

RUGBY LEAGUE: Australia is back where it belongs - on top of the rugby league world.

The Kangaroos' win at Anfield not only meant they took back from the Kiwis the Four Nations title they lost in 2014 but also the No.1 ranking snatched in 2015.

The thumping 34-8 win was Australia's fourth against New Zealand this year, ensuring Mal Meninga kept an unblemished record in his first year as coach.

"It feels pretty good,” Meninga said.

"I'm extremely happy for the players - the effort they put in and the effort throughout the whole campaign, the ownership we are trying to achieve.

"I thought we developed our performances really well to build up to what was a great performance. Sitting back and watching these guys was a real pleasure.

"Internally you don't talk about wanting to be No.1. It's nice to be back No.1.”

The Kangaroos were at their awesome best in a performance reminiscent of their 34-2 destruction of their trans-Tasman rivals in the 2013 World Cup.

Man of the match Darius Boyd was the catalyst, scoring a try and setting up two more, as he kept his own unbeaten record as an Australian representative in tact.

Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith were their usual busy selves.

In fact, the crowd of 40,042 people that showed up at the home of Liverpool FC saw Thurston kick more goals (five) than what the famous stadium is used to.

Cooper Cronk, meanwhile, continued the form that eventually won him the man of the series title.

"I haven't seen too many better spines in our game or in international rugby league,” Meninga said.

"I know how special it is to put on the green and gold jersey on for Cameron, Cooper, Darius and John - they are extraordinarily good players and great fellas and always seem to perform when it matters.

"That is how you judge a player and everything they have done in their lives has been surrounded by success.”

Meninga said the entire squad of 24 played their part in the tournament.

"The last couple of weeks I have been really happy with the performances,” he said.

"Everyone, the whole 24, were part of the team, everyone got a game, which is important, and at the end of the day the guys who ran on to the field were playing for the group.

"I couldn't be happier as a coach.”

Topics:  four nations kangaroos mal meninga

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