St Helens and England winger Tommy Makinson has been named as winner of the 2018 Golden Boot.
Makinson, 27, was presented with the award at the annual RLIF dinner at Elland Road, venue for England’s third and final test against New Zealand on Sunday.
The new rules for the Golden Boot see it based on international games only, including the 2017 World Cup final, which has led to controversy with former players Garry Schofield and Brad Fittler, amongst others, critical of it.
The winger only made his international debut this year, playing and scoring a try in the Denver test against the Kiwis, and was players man of the match in the first test at Hull before scoring a hat-trick at Anfield last weekend.
Makinson told the St Helens official club website: “This is a great night for me and I have to thank a lot of people.
“Wayne Bennett originally put me in the squad for Denver and I thought that perhaps that would have been it.
“I got the chance to play and then worked hard throughout the course of the season to push for a starting spot.
“To play in game one of this series was great and I’d like to think I have kicked on from there. Wayne and the England staff helped make that happen, but a lot of credit has to go to my family, a lot of people around me and the great people at the club too.
“You see a lot of fantastic wingers in the world so to be up there amongst them means a lot. This is a special night for me.”
Makinson is only the fifth Englishman to win the award, following in the footsteps of Ellery Hanley, Garry Schofield, Andy Farrell and Kevin Sinfield.
He beat off competition from international team-mate Elliott Whitehead, Kiwi skipper Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Australia captain James Tedesco, who many Down Under felt should have scooped the gong.