Latrell Mitchell said he will retire a happy man after scoring two tries to help Australia win their third Rugby League World Cup in succession with victory over Samoa.
The Kangaroos centre bookended the Old Trafford showpiece with tries as Mal Meninga’s men prevented Samoa becoming the first tier two nation to win the tournament with a 30-10 win.
Captain and player of the match James Tedesco also crossed for a try double as Australia repeated their 2013 feat by being crowned world champions at the Theatre of Dreams in front of 67,502 fans.
Mitchell said: “I’m speechless. I actually dreamt about this moment last night, it woke me up out of my sleep. If you didn’t have dreams, you wouldn’t be able to achieve them and I’ve followed mine.
“We set out to bring the trophy home six or seven weeks ago and it’s surreal.
“I get to hold the trophy, get a medal and get to hang that jersey up on my wall and look at it 10 to 15 years down the track and be really proud of the bunch of boys I got to call brothers.
“I could retire a happy man.”
Mitchell got his side off to a flying start in the 14th minute by bulldozing over the top of Samoa full-back Joseph Suaalii, who like he was before his move to South Sydney is stuck behind Tedesco in the queue to be the Sydney Roosters No.1.
Mitchell brought the curtain down on a ninth World Cup title in the last ten tournaments for the Kangaroos with a score at the death and he admitted Samoa’s passionate Siva Tau fired him up from the first whistle.
The 25-year-old added: “They are a very passionate mob and when they do their war cry it’s something very special. I think Spencer Leniu actually got in my face and that poked the bear a little bit.
“It switched me on from the kick-off and I knew I was ready for a game, I took some tough carries which I don’t usually do in my game. All in all, I’m very emotional but in a good way.”
The Australia squad previously took in a Manchester United game and Mitchell said he will never forget the day him and his mates were the star billing at Old Trafford.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is such a well-known athlete because of who he is and for us to be the main attraction is a special moment I’ll hold close to my heart for the rest of my life,” explained the two-time NRL champion.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to tick off as a young fella. I’ve done a few other things in the game but this is number one for me and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Mitchell heaped praise on coach Meninga and revelled in the success of his younger teammates but insisted he is far from done in the famous green and gold shirt with Australia’s victory helping them leapfrog New Zealand at the top of the world rankings.
“It’s something we can build on,” he said. “We are ranked number one now and we should have been all along, we’ve proved why and we are going to keep proving it the next couple of years.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a few more games under the belt and keep wearing the jersey with pride and representing Australia.
“We’ve got a few young lads coming through as well which only makes it all the more enjoyable to see them achieving their dreams, that’s what I live for.”