Will the International Rugby League organisation award the Golden Boot for the 2020 season?
It’s a moot question.
The Golden Boot used to be the intellectual property of League Publications Limited, the parent company of League Express.
In 2017 we sold it to what was then the Rugby League International Federation.
The Golden Boot was originally established by the former Open Rugby magazine, which became Rugby League World after we bought it in 1998.
The Boot was inaugurated in 1984, when the great Wally Lewis won it, but from 1991 to 1998 there was a hiatus.
We brought the award back into the public domain in 1999, when Andrew Johns won it.
And since then it has been awarded every year.
The criterion when we controlled it was that it should be awarded to the best player in the world, and each year we appointed a panel to determine who that player would be.
When the International Federation bought it from us, however, it slightly changed the qualification criteria, so that it was awarded to the player who was regarded as being the best player in all the international matches played in any one year.
And that brings us to the year 2020, when it looks as though there will probably be no international matches to speak of.
I understand that the international governing body hasn’t decided whether to make an award this year.
But my advice to them, having watched some great NRL action over the last five weeks, is to revert to the old criteria for this year.
I think there are lots of players who would deserve to win it, and they shouldn’t be deprived simply because of there being no international matches in which to test their skills.
Of course there will be a State of Origin series in Australia, and I’m sure there will be some great performances in that series, as well as in the NRL and Super League.
For the Golden Boot to miss a year would be a blow for its credibility and I would urge the IRL to not go down that road.
This article is an amended version of part of League Express editor Martyn Sadler’s ‘Talking Rugby League’ column that was published in last week’s League Express.
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