Respect a cornerstone of new Kangaroos

They boast a flawless Test record in 2016 and a stats sheet which shows they have outscored their opponents 146 points to 44 across five games.

It can't be easy remaining grounded right now if you are the Kangaroos, yet right through the Four Nations campaign the humble attitude of Australia has been clear for all to see.

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That is all down to the work of new head coach Mal Meninga according to captain Cameron Smith, who said the experienced representative coach has set high expectations of his players and the way they react to both victory and defeat.

"Yeah it [respect and a humble attitude] has been a feature of teams coached by Mal," Smith said ahead of this weekend's Four Nations final against the Kiwis at Anfield.

"I have been coached by him for quite a long time now, we started with State of Origin back in 2006 – it seems like a long time ago.

"That was the one main thing that he introduced into the Origin team as well, being humble with your success and gracious in defeat.

"I think that is a special part of us at the moment… we show a lot of respect to our opposition every time that we go out and play, and we show that respect by going out and playing our best football.

"That is the best way to show respect to our opposition, by not going out there with any complacency and turning up every time and playing your best."

For many of the senior crop of Kangaroos, and particularly those who have played under Meninga in the Queensland side, those expectations and values have become second nature.

But Smith admitted it was something they were constantly helping newer players to adjust to and embrace while on tour.

The Australia squad for the 2016 Four Nations includes seven Test rookies, in the way of Shannon Boyd, Jake Friend, Tyson Frizell, Valentine Holmes, James Maloney, Matt Moylan and Justin O’Neill.

"I think the way you instil that in the newer players is you speak about it around camp, speak about it at training," Smith said.

"You keep mentioning the words that we want to practice, and soon enough it is ingrained in your behaviours around the place.

"I think you have seen that from this Australian side at this tournament so far, the way we play our football and the way we have handled results so far has been fantastic.

"We just have to stay that way for another week now."

Australia will go looking for their third Four Nations title on Monday morning (AEDT), when they meet New Zealand in a repeat of the 2014 tournament final.

This article originally appeared on NRL.com.