Australia’s Four Nations Final man of the match Johnathan Thurston has been named as the winner of the 2011 Golden Boot, which is awarded annually to the game’s greatest international player by Rugby League World Magazine.
Thurston edged the award by the narrowest of margins over 2007 winner Cameron Smith in a vote involving five former Golden Boot winners, Wally Lewis, Brett Kenny, Hugh McGahan, Ellery Hanley and Garry Schofield, plus Australian coaching guru, journalist and broadcaster Phil Gould, former France coach Louis Bonnery, Papua New Guinea legend Stanley Gene and journalists and supporters from both hemispheres.
Rugby League World editor John Drake commented, “It was one of the closest races for the Golden Boot in years, which emphasises just how much fantastic talent there is in our game at the highest level. It gets harder and harder to separate the best players when it comes to individual awards in what is very much a team game.
“Johnathan’s stand out performances for Australia in the Four Nations thrilled the crowds in England and Wales just as he has thrilled the crowds back home with his club, North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL and for Queensland in State of Origin.
“The Golden Boot award recognises a whole year of performances at domestic and international level. Johnathan’s match-winning performance in the biggest game of the season, the Four Nations final against England proved he is a worthy recipient. The very best players produce their very best performances on the biggest stages.
“We’re delighted to add Johnathan Thurston’s name to the Golden Boot roll of honour, which includes so many international Rugby League legends.”
2011 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD GOLDEN BOOT – RESULT
1 .Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys/Australia) – 175 points
2. Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm/Australia) – 170 points
3. Darren Lockyer (Brisbane Broncos/Australia) – 141 points
4. Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors/England) – 110 points
5. James Graham (St Helens/England) – 89 points
6. Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos/England) – 49 points
(The full breakdown including the votes of each individual panel member are included in the January 2012 issue of Rugby League World Magazine on sale from 2nd Dec 2011).