Saturday 18 November 2017 / 10:45 PM

Thurston claims record third Golden Boot

Australia’s Johnathan Thurston has won the Rugby League World Golden Boot award for a record third time.

The 32-year-old beat off competition from New Zealand’s Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, his closest rival, and England’s Zak Hardaker, who came third. Cameron Smith and Corey Parker (both Australia) rounded off the top five.

A 28-man panel featuring some of the sport’s most respected writers from both sides of the world – including Commentary Box Sports’ Will Evans – and several former winners of the award such as Wally Lewis, Brett Kenny and Garry Schofield, were tasked with deciding the fate of Rugby League’s most prestigious individual accolade. A whopping 26 of them (93%) named Thurston player of the year. The two that didn’t gave him second spot.

“I’m still trying to come to terms with it,” Thurston told RLW.

“It’s obviously been a big year on and off the field and to finish it off with the Golden Boot is very special.

“There’s a lot of great players in both hemispheres and to be voted as the best is very humbling. I’m still a little bit lost for words.  

“When I look at the previous winners — like Locky (Darren Lockyer) and Joey (Andrew Johns) who are legends of our game — to be the first person to receive this award for a third time is very humbling and I’m blown away that people see me in that regard.”

Rugby League World editor Joe Whitley added: “Johnathan has pulled off a miraculous haul of trophies and achievements in 2015 and is undoubtedly the best player on the planet. He’s Rugby League’s answer to Lionel Messi and we are lucky to be able to witness his brilliance. I look forward to presenting the award at our special Golden Boot dinner on Thursday, February 18th at Headingley.”

The same 28-man panel were asked to name top fives in each position for the selection of the prestigious World XIII, with their first choice earning five points, their second four, their third three and so on. The maximum points any player could earn in one position was 140. In the event of a tie, the player with the most first-place votes wins. For the first time ever, two Pacific Islanders made the final lineup.

WORLD XIII

1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (NZ)

2 Semi Radradra (Fiji)

3 Kallum Watkins (England)

4 James Roberts (Australia)

5 Jermaine McGillvary (England)

6 Anthony Milford (Australia/Samoa)

7 Johnathan Thurston (Australia)

8 Jesse Bromwich (NZ)

9 Cameron Smith (Australia)

10 Matt Scott (Australia)

11 Josh Jackson (Australia)

12 Boyd Cordner (Australia)

13 Corey Parker (Australia)

Here are the votes in full:

Fullbacks

1.    Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand) 116pts

2.    Zak Hardaker (England) 89pts

3.    Greg Inglis (Australia) 40pts

4.    James Tedesco (Australia/Italy) 26pts

5.    Darius Boyd (Australia) 23pts

Wingers

1.    Semi Radradra (Fiji) 91pts

2.    Jermaine McGillvary (England) 41pts

3.    Ryan Hall (England) 33pts

4.    Shaun Kenny-Dowall (New Zealand) 27pts

5.    Jason Nightingale (New Zealand) 26pts

Centres

1.    Kallum Watkins (England) 68pts

2.    James Roberts (Australia) 45pts

3.    Blake Ferguson (Australia) 36pts

4.    Michael Jennings (Australia) 19pts

5.    Dean Whare (New Zealand) 16pts

Stand-offs

1.    Anthony Milford (Samoa) 72pts

2.    Michael Morgan (Australia) 70pts

3.    Johnathan Thurston (Australia) 50pts

4.    Blake Austin (Australia) 36pts

5.    Gareth Widdop (England) 33pts

Scrum-halves

1.    Johnathan Thurston (Australia) 90pts

2.    Ben Hunt (Australia) 63pts

3.    Cooper Cronk (Australia) 49pts

4.    Shaun Johnson (New Zealand) 44pts

5.    Luke Gale (England) 24pts

Prop forwards

1.    Jesse Bromwich (New Zealand) 69pts

2.    Matt Scott (Australia) 55pts

3.    James Graham (England) 43pts

4.    J Waerea-Hargreaves (New Zealand) 41pts

5.    Aaron Woods (Australia) 34pts

Hookers

1.    Cameron Smith (Australia) 82pts

2.    James Roby (England) 49pts

3.    Issac Luke (New Zealand) 48pts

4.    Jake Granville (Australia) 43pts

5.    Michael Ennis (Australia) 26pts

Second rowers

1.    Josh Jackson (Australia) 52pts

2.    Boyd Cordner (Australia) 33pts

3.    Jason Taumalolo (New Zealand) 33pts

4.    Tohu Harris (New Zealand) 33pts

5.    Sam Thaiday (Australia) 32pts

Loose forwards

1.    Corey Parker (Australia) 89pts

2.    Jason Taumalolo (New Zealand) 59pts

3.    Martin Taupau (New Zealand) 37pts

4.    Adam Cuthbertson (Australia) 33pts

5.    Sean O’Loughlin (England) 33pts

GOLDEN BOOT WINNERS

1984 WALLY LEWIS

1985 BRETT KENNY

1986 GARRY JACK

1987 HUGH McGAHAN & PETER STERLING

1988 ELLERY HANLEY

1989 MAL MENINGA

1990 GARRY SCHOFIELD

1999 ANDREW JOHNS

2000 BRAD FITTLER

2001 ANDREW JOHNS (2)

2002 STACEY JONES

2003 DARREN LOCKYER

2004 ANDREW FARRELL

2005 ANTHONY MINICHIELLO

2006 DARREN LOCKYER (2)

2007 CAMERON SMITH

2008 BILLY SLATER

2009 GREG INGLIS

2010 BENJI MARSHALL

2011 JOHNATHAN THURSTON

2012 KEVIN SINFIELD

2013 JOHNATHAN THURSTON (2)

2014 SHAUN JOHNSON

2015 JOHNATHAN THURSTON (3)

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