James Graham says he isn't sorry for swearing at an opponent during the World Cup Final after it was picked up by the referee's microphone.

Graham could be heard calling an Australian player a “cheating c**t” during the game in Brisbane, with commentators forced to apologise on live TV.

However, the former St Helens forward told the media post-match that he had no reason to apologise for the sledge because it is part of the game.

“If you have ever been on a rugby field you will know lots of things get said,” Graham explained. “This is real life we’re talking about.

It’s passion and in the heat of battle you will always pick things up on the ref mics.

“There is no point in faking it out there, I’m a competitor and this is real life. If you don’t like it then turn off the ref mics. We don’t pat the opposition on the back during the game.

“I don’t even remember what was said and I shouldn’t have to remember either. It’s just part of the game and I shouldn’t have to apologise to anyone.”

The 32-year-old put in another outstanding performance for the Lions, but he and England eventually fell short against the Kangaroos.

Boyd Cordner's first half try and Cameron Smith's conversion were the only points of a gruelling encounter that went down to the wire, with Australia running out 6-0 winners.

Things could have been very different had Josh Dugan not produced an ankle tap on Kallum Watkins in the final quarter – the England centre was in open space with support before he was floored by Dugan’s last-ditch attempt.

It was the closest ever World Cup final as England appeared at the tournament's big dance for the first time in 22 years under Wayne Bennett.

Continuing his chat to the press after the game, Graham said he was hopeful the Queenslander would stay on as head coach despite his contract coming to an end.

“If you are asking me would I like Wayne to stay then yes, of course,” said Graham. “All of the lads here love him and I think it’s now evident his impact on the group.

“To match Australia in their backyard for 80 minutes is some going. It was a brilliant performance away from home by the lads and we put everything on the line.

“It wasn’t so long ago we were getting hit for 50 against Australia over here so it’s clear to see the improvement we have made, especially over the last decade.

“We kept turning up for each other out there today and although it doesn’t feel like it now, it’s certainly another step forward for us in trying to get to that next level.

“It’s a devastating feeling at the moment but when we look back in a few weeks time at what we’ve achieved over the last seven weeks, then I think we can be proud.”