RLIF should be ashamed at Golden Boot nonsense

The Rugby League International Federation needs to take a long look at itself following the, quite frankly, shameful butchering of the prestigious Golden Boot award.

Following an encouraging autumn of international rugby league, not least the two high quality tests between England and New Zealand, the RLIF have managed to disrupt the rugby league world by re-inventing the criteria of the game’s only dual-hemisphere player award.

The biggest victim of this nonsense is Tommy Makinson, finally making a long overdue impact as an international player following years of unfairly being overlooked by the national coaches.

He is the International Player of the Year, and should be celebrated as that.

But the RLIF, who purchased the Golden Boot award from Rugby League World Magazine ahead of 2017, have virtually discredited the proud heritage of the award, first given to Wally Lewis in 1984, by changing its criteria instead of creating a new award.

Sadly, some motormouthed ex-players Down Under have completely ignored the fact that the criteria of the award have changed, and instead targeted their ire at Makinson, who some claim to have never heard of.

Given there are only two professional leagues in the entire world, and a total of 28 top flight clubs, if they hadn’t heard of one of the best wingers in Super League, who played for the team that topped the table last season, then they really ought to re-consider if they are suitably informed to give an opinion on who should win the award.

Up to the end of 2016, the criteria was – “The Golden Boot is presented annually to the player voted the world’s best by a panel of experts. It was inaugurated in 1984 by Open Rugby magazine, the forerunner to Rugby League World. It was owned and presented by Rugby League World from 1999 to 2016.”

Previously awarded in December, ie. after all games in that calendar year, it is now inexplicably held before the end of the international window, meaning that this year’s award apparently includes the 2017 World Cup final from a year ago.

This ridiculous change also means that there is no longer an award for the world’s best player.

It is also an insult to Open Rugby and Rugby League World who, in the absence of a meaningful international body, have created and carried on delivering an individual player award that should be the pinnacle of rugby league.

Rugby league needs an international governing body to rule over the NRL and Super League, and give focus to the growth of the sport on the international stage.

Not one that descends it in to more negative chaos.

In the meantime, someone owes Tommy an apology. Well done on the award, well deserved.