Wests Tigers superstar five-eighth and New Zealand Test captain Benji Marshall has received one of the game’s greatest accolades in winning the 2010 Rugby League World Golden Boot Award.
Now in its 25th year, the prestigious award is presented to the game’s greatest international player. Marshall beat fellow nominees Shaun Kenny Dowall (NZ), Paul Gallen (Australia), James Graham (England), Billy Slater (Australia) and Sam Thaiday (Australia).
“To win this award, after coming back from three shoulder reconstructions, winning the Four Nations, and having my best ever year since I’ve started in the NRL, is pretty overwhelming,’’ Marshall said.
“I’m pretty excited. It is something I definitely won’t take for granted.”
The voting panel included three former Golden Boot winners in Wally Lewis, Hugh McGahan and Stacey Jones, former Great Britain international Garry Schofield, former England Rugby League coach Phil Larder, ex NSW coach turned broadcaster Phil Gould, former France coach Louis Bonnery, as well as journalists and supporters from both hemispheres.
In announcing the winner, Rugby League World magazine editor John Drake declared Marshall a dominant victor.
“It was a landslide victory for Benji Marshall who achieved maximum points from 11 of the 13 members of the voting panel,’’ Drake said.
“The Golden Boot award recognises a whole year of performances at domestic and international level.
“Benji’s match-winning performance in the biggest game of the season, the Four Nations final against Australia, proved his undoubted class. The very best players produce their very best performances on the biggest stages.”
Marshall was a key figure in Wests Tigers reaching the preliminary final in 2010, having played every game this season.
Wests Tigers and Australian Coach Tim Sheens said Marshall had to overcome some hurdles this year.
“I’m delighted for Benji and it is richly deserved,’’ Sheens said.
“Things were not always going his way. There was a time in the middle of the season when people were on his back and the pressure was really on him.
“To come through that and win this award is a credit to him and it exemplifies his determination and perseverance to get the job done.”
Read more on Benji’s award plus the 25 year history of the Golden Boot in issue 357 of Rugby League World, on sale from 3rd Dec.