The Wallabies presented a united front behind embattled coach Robbie Deans on Sunday, but conceded they're only playing for second place in world rugby with the All Blacks all but invincible.
The morning after surrendering the Bledisloe Cup to New Zealand for a 10th straight year, players made the stark admission they're not in the same league as the world champions.
The goal this year was to supplant New Zealand as the world No.1 team but, just like Australia's Olympians, silver has become the new gold for the world No.2 Wallabies.
South Africa can leapfrog the Wallabies if they beat them in Perth on September 8 and, after two emphatic losses to New Zealand, Australia say the rest of the inaugural Rugby Championship is now all about fighting to remain the second best team in the world.
The bar of expectation has clearly been lowered after Australia were kept scoreless against New Zealand for the first time in half a century as Saturday night's 22-0 defeat added to 26 years of Wallabies' misery at Eden Park.
However veteran hooker Stephen Moore insisted their under-fire coach hasn't lost the support of the dressing room, despite growing calls for Deans' head given his dire 3-14 win-loss record against the All Blacks.
"We go through it ourselves as well. It's a team game so we all take responsibility for what's going on, both on and off the field. I think both of them go hand in hand," said Moore.
"We need to make sure we carry ourselves in the right manner off the field if we want to make sure we're getting our performances right on the field.
"(New Zealand) are without doubt the No.1 side in the world ... there's quite a way there to us in second place and the challenge for us now is to try and maintain that spot in the next period of time against the Boks and Argentina."
Debutant flanker Liam Gill agreed Australia were now focused on being the best of the rest.
"They've proven they are the No.1 team and now we've got to hold our spot as I guess the No.2 team."
When questioned about his future on Sunday, Deans stuck with the line that "it's not about me, it's about this group and the Wallabies and what we do."
The coach said criticism of him and speculation over whether he will see his contract through until the end of 2013 could serve as a distraction to the team.
However, he hoped players would move on quickly from their latest morale-sapping experience against New Zealand as they face trips to Pretoria and Rosario.
Deans believes the All Blacks were close to invincible on Saturday night.
"Things can go wrong in terms of mindset but yeah, obviously when they're on the case, on the job, playing at the destination that they have had a lot of history in and are very comfortable, you'd probably suggest yes," said Deans, who must also prepare to stop another loss to the All Blacks after the Rugby Championship in October.
"They'll experience some adversity along the way there's no doubt ... but I'd be very surprised if they didn't finish top of the heap again at the end of this year."