Sunday, November 23, 2008
Rugby League World Cup Final Result : New Zealand 34-20 Australia
New Zealand came from 10-0 down to gain a stunning 34-20 victory over Australia and lift the World Cup for the first time in the 54-year history of the tournament.
A 50,550 crowd at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium were shocked into disbelief after watching the Kangaroos relinquish their grip on the trophy they had held since 1972.
After leading 16-12 at the break, Australia wilted in the face of a Kiwi onslaught and Slater turned from hero to villain midway through the second half by gifting a try to New Zealand stand-off Benji Marshall with a wild pass into no-man's land.
That enabled Kearney's men to turn a slender two-point lead into a more comfortable 22-16 advantage while a defensive blunder from winger Joel Monaghan led to a penalty try awarded by Ganson to outstanding full-back Lance Hohaia.
New Zealand captain Nathan Cayless thanked the 5,000 British fans who cast aside the disappointment of England's failure to reach the World Cup Final to cheer the underdogs to victory, just as they did at Elland Road in 2005 when the Kiwis won the Tri-Nations final.
"It's going to take a time to sink in," said Cayless. "It's just unbelievable. The boys worked so hard for it. That's my grand final, it's the biggest thing for me."