Darren Lockyer poised to make Golden Boot history

 

Darren Lockyer could make history by becoming the first player to win the Golden Boot three times.

Lockyer won the Golden Boot in 2003 and 2006, and the Australian has been shortlisted to win the award again.

The six man shortlist comprises of three English and Australian players. Sam Tomkins, Ryan Hall and James Graham represent England, while Lockyer is joined by Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston.

Rugby League World editor John Drake said: He (Lockyer) is one of the greatest players any of us has ever seen, who has once again led Queensland to victory in the State of Origin and will captain Australia in his final international appearance on Saturday.

“It’s just impossible not to include him on the Golden Boot shortlist. We have seen before that he can win the biggest games almost single handed and it was his virtuoso performance against Great Britain at Elland Road in 2004 that resulted in the announcement of the winner of the Golden Boot being permanently moved after the final rather than before it.

“Not only has he left his mark on the whole sport, he’s left his mark on the Golden Boot too, and who would rule him out of becoming the first player to win it three times?”

A wildcard player may be added to the shortlist after the Four Nations final, with the winner being announced in issue 369 of Rugby League World.

It is the first time English players have equalled Australians in the shortlist, and shows the improvement the English side have made under Steve McNamara.

Drake said: “Our shortlist contains six players who we believe would walk into any Rugby League team, anywhere in the world. Their selection is backed up by strong and consistent domestic performances throughout the year, but with particular emphasis on performances at international level too.

“The Golden Boot goes to the best player in the world, and the best players usually reserve their best performances for the biggest games. They don’t come any bigger than the Four Nations final.

“We reserve the right to reward a standout performance in the final with a place on our shortlist through the wildcard option, which we first introduced last year. It’s a tough decision to limit the shortlist to six, and there are several outstanding players who will be appearing in the final who were unlucky to miss out, but the chance is still open to them.”

Missing out on the shortlist is RLIF Player of the Year Billy Slater, who has been forced to miss the remainder of the Four Nations tournament after breaking his collar bone against England at Wembley.

Drake said: “Billy Slater is without doubt a world class player and would almost certainly have made our shortlist under normal circumstances. He won the Golden Boot in 2008 so he has already proven he possesses all the qualities we look for in our winners. But sadly the injury which saw him leave the field against England at Wembley has proved crucial to our decision not to include him on this year’s shortlist.”

 

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