The Kangaroos have booked their place in the 2022 Rugby League World Cup Final thanks to a dominant second half display after they went into half-time trailing in their semi-final against New Zealand.
Ultimately the Kiwis will be left to rue a 20-minute period in the second half where they seemed unable to complete a set or escape their own half, allowing Australia to build momentum.
The energy was high from the outset as both teams fought for an early advantage; Jahrome Hughes chanced himself against the defensive line on the first fifth tackle of the game, and the Kiwis were regularly offloading in their own half, evidence that they weren't going to die wondering.
But it was an Australian error that handed the Kiwis early field position, with a Ben Hunt 40/20 attempt soaring out on the full.
Though Tedesco defended valiantly, Hughes found the line first after some amazing acrobatics from Joey Manu, who leapt highest to a Dylan Brown bomb and handed it off to a waiting Hughes, who merely had to fall over the line.
That sparked the Kangaroos into life, and they struck back within five minutes. A seemingly innocuous chip from Ben Hunt was met in the corner by Josh Addo-Carr, who caught it cleanly to score a try few other players could have managed.
But the Kiwis refused to go away, and they were already leading the offload count 9-1 when Jordan Rapana converted a penalty goal for an accidental offside.
But the Roos would hit back again, creating space down the right-hand side. Jack Wighton looked set to score before an incredible covering tackle by Manu, but despite bringing Wighton down he wasn't able to hold him and the Raiders star offloaded for Holmes to go over untouched. Despite being dominated for large periods of the half, Australia had taken the lead.
The game settled into a groove from there but the Kiwis scored a valuable try in the dying stages of the half, with a quick shift to the right creating space for Ronaldo Mulitalo. The winger backed himself to get around Wighton before feeding the ball back inside for Brown to cross and give the Kiwis a deserved half-time lead.
The Kiwis struck early in the second and looked to have scored after a stunning individual effort from Penrith forward Moses Leota, but the play was brought back after one of the kick-chasing Kiwis was judged to have had a foot ahead of the ball when it was kicked. On the next set a melee broke out and it looked like the Kiwis were well and truly under Australia's skin.
But it seemed to have the opposite effect, with the Kiwi's fearless and expansive play going missing as they sought to widen the gap.
They were soon behind in soft fashion. Brandon Smith made a try-saving tackle but was then penalised for ruck infringement, and from the penalty Cleary handed off to Cameron Murray for the softest try of the game.
That blow seemed to sap the life out of the Kiwis, and Joey Manu, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Jordan Rapana were all guilty of coughing up the ball needlessly while coming out of their own half in the following sets – but despite the constant possession, the Kangaroos couldn't increase the margin.
Ronaldo Mulitalo went off with a knee injury and more players required attention from the trainers as fatigue started to set in, but the Kiwis sprung back to life in the final 10 thanks to a line-break from Rapana.
The offloads started to return as the Kiwis fought to keep their Grand Final hopes alive, and Australia's execution in attack left plenty to be desired. But ultimately the Kiwis couldn't find a way through the resilient Australian defence.
After such a dominant display in so many areas, they'll be wondering how this one got away, while the Aussies will likely recognise the role that a bit of luck played in their thrilling win.