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Roos' greats want RLWC glory for team

It could be the final frontier on a journey towards rugby league immortality.
Roos' greats want RLWC glory for team
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon and Julian Drape

CARDIFF, Oct 25 AAP - It could be the final frontier on a journey towards rugby league immortality.

But superstars Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater are putting personal ambitions aside as Australia embark on their quest for World Cup glory in the UK.

From NRL premierships to unprecedented State of Origin glory and Dally M medals, the trio have captured just about every big prize available.

Everything, that is, except winning a World Cup.

With all of them aged 30, the tournament likely represents the final chance for three of rugby league's modern-day greats to capture the big one that has eluded them due to New Zealand's shock win in the 2008 final.

A World Cup victory has featured on the resumes of most of the game's post-World War II elites and Smith is conscious of what it would mean to hoist the trophy at Old Trafford on November 30.

But the Kangaroos skipper insists he and his fellow Queensland superstars are primarily motivated by the chance to reclaim the world title for Australia rather than personal glory.

"I don't come into this tournament thinking we need to win because it's a box I need to tick," said Smith ahead of Saturday's tournament opener against England in Cardiff.

"I think if you look at it that way, you're here for the wrong reasons.

"For me, it's about playing the best I can for Australia and I think I can speak on behalf of the other guys as well by saying that.

"It'd be fantastic to be able to come home as World Cup champions.

"But it's going to take a lot of hard work as a team to be able to do that. We're aware of that and we're up for it."

Thurston is also keen to deflect talk of what victory would mean personally for he and other members of an ageing Australian squad.

"No doubt it would be outstanding (to win) but not all fairy tales come true. I'm well aware of that," Thurston said.

"As a team we just need to make sure that we're preparing the best that we can for each game and if we do that and approach it with the right attitude, we'll give ourselves every chance of winning each game."

Irregular hosting of rugby league's showpiece event means none of coach Tim Sheens' squad has won a World Cup.

There was an eight-year gap between tournament's prior to the 2008 event, with Australia prevailing in the UK in 2000.

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