Golden Boot

Kiwis captain James Fisher-Harris, lock Joseph Tapine and Kangaroos prop Payne Haas are in line to become the first running forward to win the IRL Golden Boot in 20 years after being selected on a short list of four nominees for the 2023 award.

Fisher-Harris and Tapine, who helped New Zealand to a record 30-0 defeat of Australia in the inaugural Pacific Cup final, are vying with Haas and England halfback Harry Smith for the 2023 IRL Golden Boot as international player of the year.

Kiwi Ferns trio Georgia Hale, Mele Hufanga, Apii Nicholls and Jillaroos fullback Tamika Upton have been shortlisted for the women’s Golden Boot, while Frenchman Jeremy Bourson and England’s Lewis King are the contenders for the wheelchair Golden Boot.

The last running forward to win the Golden Boot was former Great Britain captain Andy Farrell, who played mostly second-row or lock in his 34 international appearances before switching to rugby union, where he now coaches Ireland.

Former Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith, who is one of nine players to have played more than 50 internationals, won the Golden Boot in 2007 and 2017 but he was a dummy half and not a running forward like Fisher-Harris, Tapine and Haas.

The only other forward to have won the Golden Boot was former New Zealand captain Hugh McGahan in 1987, while England’s Kevin Sinfield played halfback when he received the award in 2012.

The men’s 2023 IRL Golden Boot short list of Fisher-Harris, Haas, Smith and Tapine was chosen by a panel comprising of Golden Cap recipients Adam Blair, James Graham, Darren Lockyer, Adrian Morley and Ruben Wiki, who have each played more than 50 internationals.

The quartet were selected from a long list of 20 players nominated by members of the media in Australia, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, after the conclusion of the Pacific Championships and the historic England-Tonga series.

The women’s IRL Golden Boot winner short list was chosen from 14 nominees after the Pacific Championships, which featured New Zealand’s first triumph over the Jillaroos since 2016, and internationals in Europe.

Players from England, France, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Cook Islands were also nominated, before the New Zealand trio of Hale, Hufanga and Nicholls and Australia’s Upton were shortlisted.

The women’s 2023 IRL Golden Boot winner will be selected by Australian Jillaroos great Karyn Murphy, former New Zealand dual code superstar Honey Hireme-Smiler and England 2017 World Cup prop turned rugby league commentator Danika Priim.

The judges of the 2023 Wheelchair IRL Golden Boot are Malcolm Kielty (England) and Robert Fassolette (France), the two key figures in establishing the sport, along with another driving force in the game’s development in Martin Coyd, and long serving administrator Niel Wood, who has been a member of the IRL’s Wheelchair Rugby League advisory committee.

Bourson and King were shortlisted for the Golden Boot after last weekend’s international between World Cup finalists England and France in Marseilles, in which the visitors avenged their defeat in Leeds three weeks earlier.

France’s Lionel Alazard and the England trio of Sebastien Bechara, who is the current Golden Boot holder, Jack Brown and Nathan Collins were also considered.

IRL Chair Troy Grant congratulated the 10 players shortlisted for the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair Golden Boot awards.

“The IRL Golden Boot is one of the game’s most prestigious awards and any of the nominated players would be a worthy winner,” Mr Grant said.

“In recent weeks we have seen all three of last year’s World Cup winners – the Kangaroos, Jillaroos and England Wheelchair team – beaten, and this shows how closely contested the international game is.

“That is reflected in the nominations for the 2023 Golden Boot and there is no clear-cut candidate for any of the awards.

“On behalf of the IRL, I would like to thank the panels of former greats of our game, and those who have made a significant contribution to the development of Wheelchair Rugby League, for their involvement in helping to choose the 2023 international player of the year.”

The IRL Golden Boot is awarded to the best player in sanctioned rugby league international matches each year.

The 2022 IRL Golden Boot winners were New Zealand’s Joey Manu and Raecene McGregor, and England Wheelchair star Sebastien Bechara.

The winners of the 2023 IRL Golden Boot awards will be announced in early December.

 

IRL Golden Boot Short Lists

Men

James Fisher-Harris (New Zealand)

Payne Haas (Australia)

Harry Smith (England)

Joseph Tapine (New Zealand)

Women

Georgia Hale (New Zealand)

Mele Hufanga (New Zealand)

Apii Nicholls (New Zealand)

Tamika Upton (Australia)

Wheelchair

Jeremy Bourson (France)

Lewis King (England)

 

Previous IRL Golden Boot Winners

Men

1984 Wally Lewis (Australia)

1985 Brett Kenny (Australia)

1986 Garry Jack (Australia)

1987 Hugh McGahan (New Zealand)

and Peter Sterling (Australia)

1988 Ellery Hanley (England)

1989 Mal Meninga (Australia)

1990 Garry Schofield (England)

1992 Garry Schofield (England)

1991-98 No award given

1999 Andrew Johns (Australia)

2000 Brad Fittler (Australia)

2001 Andrew Johns (Australia)

2002 Stacey Jones (New Zealand)

2003 Darren Lockyer (Australia)

2004 Andrew Farrell (England)

2005 Anthony Minichiello (Australia)

2006 Darren Lockyer (Australia)

2007 Cameron Smith (Australia)

2008 Billy Slater (Australia)

2009 Greg Inglis (Australia)

2010 Benji Marshall (New Zealand)

2011 Johnathan Thurston (Australia)

2012 Kevin Sinfield (England)

2013 Johnathan Thurston (Australia)

2014 Shaun Johnson (New Zealand)

2015 Johnathan Thurston (Australia)

2016 Cooper Cronk (Australia)

2017 Cameron Smith (Australia)

2018 Tommy Makinson (England)

2019 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand)

2020 No award given

2021 No award given

2022 Joey Manu (New Zealand)

WOMEN

2018 Isabelle Kelly (Australia)

2019 Jessica Sergis (Australia)

2020 No award given

2021 No award given

2022 Raecene McGregor (New Zealand)

WHEELCHAIR

2019 Jack Brown (England)

2020 No award given

2021 No award given

2022 Sebastien Bechara (England)