South Sydney Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray passing the ball to teammates at NSW Blues training session. (Photo by Joshua Davis)

South Sydney Rabbitohs lock forward Cameron Murray has taken out the Harry Sunderland Medal awarded to the Kangaroos' best player of the recent tri-series against New Zealand and Samoa.

Australia only played three Tests in 2023, but ended it on a sombre note, being hammered 30 points to nil in the Pacific Cup final against the Kiwis in Hamilton.

Despite the disaster, the Kangaroos had two solid wins in their round games during the tri-series, beating Samoa in Townsville and New Zealand in Melbourne.

Those wins saw all 21 players in the squad have a game, but they also saw Murray as the standout, where he scored a try in both Tests to equal Ron Coote's record for the most consecutive Tests with a try for a forward.

The loss represented the biggest ever for an Australian national team, with the Kiwis now looking to build a full head of steam over the coming years ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which will be held at a yet to be determined venue in the Southern Hemisphere.

Australia, meanwhile, have plenty of soul-searching to do ahead of a period of transformation for the national team, although, at least immediately, it's unlikely that will include a new coach with all reports suggesting Mal Meninga will be retained for another year at the very least.

The Kangaroos must make quick decisions in the next two or three years, with another tri-series at the end of 2024, a tour of England in 2025, and then the World Cup in 2026.

Murray may well be among the candidates to captain the Kangaroos moving forward, with there being every chance that James Tedesco has played his last Test during the 2023 series.

The Medal has been awarded for every international series since 1964.