Back to homepage

The Golden Boot: The Winners & How They Won It

The Golden Boot

1984: Wally Lewis
Captained Australia in Ashes whitewash over Great Britain, Queensland in State of Origin success and Wynnum Manly to Brisbane Grand Final glory.

Wally Lewis was the inaugural winner of the Golden Boot.

Wally Lewis was the inaugural winner of the Golden Boot.

1985: Brett Kenny
Played a starring role in Wigan winning the greatest Challenge Cup final of them all before playing in the Blues’ first-ever Origin series win.

1986: Garry Jack
Magnificent at fullback as NSW and Australia enjoyed comprehensive series wins over Queensland and Great Britain.

1987: Hugh McGahan & Peter Sterling
The Kiwi captained his country to a famous win over Australia in the only Test between the two countries that year while Sterling won two Origin man of the match awards.

1988: Ellery Hanley
Drove Balmain to stunning charge towards Grand Final place and led Great Britain to first win over Australia for ten years.

Ellery Hanley - 1988

Ellery Hanley – 1988

1989: Mal Meninga
Lifted Canberra’s maiden Winfield Cup Premiership after classic Grand Final against Balmain and played a leading role in series whitewash wins for Queensland and Australia.

1990: Garry Schofield
The first ‘retrospective’ winner of the Golden Boot, having been chosen to receive the award that year only for a sponsors dispute to lead to its cancellation. Schoey had to wait 21 years to finally get the accolade. Read the full story here.

1999: Andrew Johns
Outstanding throughout the NRL season and starred for NSW in drawn Origin series.

2000: Brad Fittler
Lifted the World Cup for Australia after Origin success with the Blues. Also helped Sydney Roosters to the Grand Final.

2001: Andrew Johns
Triumphed with Australia in the Ashes and Newcastle in the Grand Final, winning the Clive Churchill Medal.

2002: Stacey Jones
Led the Warriors to their maiden Grand Final before starring in the Test series against New Zealand.

Darren Lockyer - 2003 & 2006

Darren Lockyer – 2003 & 2006

2003: Darren Lockyer
Won his first Boot after denying Great Britain in each Ashes Test with typical brilliance.

2004: Andrew Farrell
Superb for Wigan winning the Man of Steel before leading Britain to three consecutive Test wins.

2005: Anthony Minichiello
Brilliant fullback who starred for New South Wales in Origin triumph and for Australia before their Tri-Nations final disaster.

2006: Darren Lockyer
Enjoyed the perfect year, tasting success at club, state and international level as captain of all three sides.

2007: Cameron Smith
Part of two comprehensive wins against New Zealand, was the player of the Origin series and won a Grand Final with Melbourne.

2008: Billy Slater
Succeeded at Origin level although lost finals with Melbourne and Australia. Brilliant throughout the year nonetheless.

Greg Inglis - 2009

Greg Inglis – 2009

2009: Greg Inglis
Won a clean sweep with Melbourne, Queensland and Australia, proving to be the game’s most explosive centre since Meninga.

2010: Benji Marshall
Stunned the Aussies by engineering late try to win Four Nations final. Produced many magic moments in 2010.

2011: Johnathan Thurston
A brilliant, if controversial, Man of the Match display in the Four Nations final against England crowned a spectacular year of achievement. Click here to read an appraisal of the 2011 winner by Malcolm Andrews.

2012: Kevin Sinfield
Captained Leeds Rhinos to the World Club Challenge and Super League titles and England to victory in the Autumn International Series. Click here for Martyn Sadler’s tribute to the winner of the 2012 Golden Boot. Click here to read an interview with Kevin Sinfield.

2013: Johnathan Thurston
Johnathan Thurston became only the third man to win Rugby League World’s coveted Gold Boot on two occasions. The Australia and North Queensland Cowboys stand-off edged out England forward Sam Burgess to follow up his success in 2011. Thurston caught the attention of the 13-man voting panel with his man-of-the-match performance in the World Cup final win over New Zealand, completing an outstanding series for the 30-year-old. Thurston also took his club side the Cowboys to the NRL play-offs and helped continued Queensland’s stunning run of eight successive State of Origin series wins. Click here to read Rugby League World editor Gareth Walker’s interview with Johnathan  Thurston.

2014: Shaun Johnson
The New Zealand halfback played a starring role for the Kiwis in their triumphant Four Nations campaign which helped him to clinch the 2014 Golden Boot award.

Thurston-Golden-Boot-2502015: Johnathan Thurston
Australia’s Johnathan Thurston became the first player to win the Rugby League World Golden Boot award for a 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 – and several former winners of the award – 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. Johnathan was presented with the award at a glittering ceremony hosted by Leeds Rhinos ahead of their World Club Series clash with Thurston’s North Queensland Cowboys. Watch the highlights of the ceremony here.

2016: Cooper Cronk
Cooper Cronk, the Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australia halfback, saw off the challenge from three other shortlisted candidates including Storm clubmate Cameron Smith, Darius Boyd and Jason Taumalolo, to earn the accolade. Cronk was one of Australia’s standout stars in their 2016 Four Nations triumph.
The Kangaroos went through the tournament, involving New Zealand, England and Scotland, undefeated to claim the Four Nations trophy at Liverpool’s famous Anfield Stadium in front of over 40,000 supporters.