Meninga thrilled with Four Nations win
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has praised his entire 24-man squad following Australia's 34-8 Four Nations final victory over New Zealand at Anfield.
In Meninga's first tour as coach of the Kangaroos he was able to help Australia to their first Four Nations trophy since 2011 and help reclaim the mantle as the No.1 Test team in the world.
Meninga was able to hand every one of his players an Australian jumper throughout the tournament and was pleased with all of their efforts over the past six weeks.
Without the likes of retired warhorse Corey Parker and New South Wales Origin captain Paul Gallen, the onus was on a smaller cohort of veterans to help shape the new-look squad.
"I was happy with everyone's buy-in. We mucked around with the team for the first few games but the last fortnight I've been really happy with our performances," Meninga said.
"Everyone was a part of the team and everyone played a game which is important. At the end of the day, the team that beat New Zealand weren't only playing for themselves but the entire group. I couldn't be happier really as a coach.
"They took ownership of what we aimed to achieve as far as the Kangaroos were concerned.
"We developed our performances really well and built it up to the final win. It's been a real pleasure watching these guys."
Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith said there was pride on the line throughout the entire tournament as Australia looked to help rebuild the international game.
With the NRL and State of Origin typically dominating the headlines, the international game has fallen by the wayside in recent years.
Smith said Australia planned on changing that under Meninga and that they had taken the right steps in doing so by winning the Four Nations.
"That was a goal of ours – to be here in the final – but we also wanted to win it and show everyone back home what it means to us to play for the Kangaroos, in the name of helping everyone get behind us and the international game," Smith said.
"Anfield is a great stadium and it's exactly where these big games need to be played.
"We've spoken about how we want to go about rebuilding the international game and put it back on top where it deserves to be. We've made some pretty good steps to do that this tournament."