The four tries that helped the Lions to a 41-16 win and a first Test series triumph since 1997 put a considerable gloss on the result but there can have been few Test victories more solidly built on the engine room of the pack.
A Wallabies' scrum that had held their own in the tight first two Tests were pulverised in the set-piece at the Olympic Stadium, conceding penalty after penalty as they crumbled before the red onslaught.
In the breakdown and around the fringes, openside Sean O'Brien and number eight Toby Faletau - both brought into the beefed up pack for the decider - tackled like demons and crashed repeatedly into the home defence with ball in hand.
Gatland had been subjected to a furious backlash for picking a starting team with 10 players from Wales and, in particular, for dropping Irish hero Brian O'Driscoll in favour of a Jamie Roberts-Jonathan Davies centre combination.
"I've always stuck to my guns and said sometimes you have to make tough calls," the New Zealander, who now coaches Wales, told a news conference. "And sometimes that's why you are put in a position to put your balls on the line, sometimes you have to be prepared to do that.
"I was absolutely shocked at the vitriolic terms of the criticism," he added.
"I haven't taken a lot of pleasure out of tonight in terms of feeling vindicated. I haven't enjoyed the last 72 hours, it's been pretty tough personally.
"That's why you're in the job and you have to make some tough calls and hopefully every now and then one of them comes through and you get it right."
When the Australians fought back to 19-16 down early in the second half, it was again the pack who reasserted the Lions' dominance with another huge effort at the scrum to bag another three points from the almost unerring boot of Leigh Halfpenny.
There was no respite for the Australians even when deep in the second half, the likes of tighthead prop Adam Jones and O'Brien headed for the bench, their bodies spent.
"We spoke about being prepared to go to a place that not many players go to in terms of pushing your body to the limit," Gatland said. "The players did that and ran themselves into the ground. I thought the bench were fantastic and gave us impetus."
Alun Wyn Jones, who captained the side in place of the injured Sam Warburton, was clearly exhausted but also paid tribute to the replacements.
"I was digging in in the last 20 I'm not afraid to say that," said the lock. "When you've got boys coming on and picking you up, it's a great feeling."
The Australians, who had levelled up the series in Melbourne last week after the Lions won the Brisbane opener, undoubtedly contributed to their own demise.
Will Genia spilling the opening kickoff contributed to a horror start but it was the problems at the scrum, culminating in the sinbinning of prop Ben Alexander after 25 minutes, that lost them the game.
"We didn't start well, that set piece," said coach Robbie Deans. "That gave them the confidence to dictate whichever way they chose.
"And as a result because of the momentum, you tend to get things go your way under that circumstance and it compounds.
"You let the ref into the game there and you then make a couple of other errors which contribute to the scoreboard and all of a sudden you've got a bigger challenge on your hands and that's essentially what happened.
"And credit to the Lions they used that momentum very well and it suited the way they play the game."
Deans said another defining difference on the night had been the six changes his fellow New Zealander had made to his side from the team who lost in Melbourne last week.
"The Lions changes probably meant they could go harder in the way they wanted to play and that was the way it was," he said.
However the series victory was achieved, though, Gatland was delighted just to get the tourists back to winning ways.
"This was delivering. This was winning the series. And we've achieved that," he said. "I think the pleasing thing for everyone, we saw how special Lions tours can be."
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