The Golden Boot

Johnathan Thurston is the only player to win the Golden Boot three times.

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.

A list of winners during that period is shown below.


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.

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.

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.

(No awards were presented from 1991 to 1998)

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.

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.

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.

2012: Kevin Sinfield
Captained Leeds Rhinos to the World Club Challenge and Super League titles and England to victory in the Autumn International Series.

2013: Johnathan Thurston
Thurston was man-of-the-match in Australia’s World Cup final win over New Zealand, took N Qld Cowboys to the NRL play-offs and helped continue Queensland’s run of State of Origin series wins.

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.

2015: Johnathan Thurston
The first player to win the Golden Boot 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.

2016: Cooper Cronk
Cronk was one of Australia’s standout stars in their 2016 Four Nations triumph. The Kangaroos went through the tournament undefeated to claim the Four Nations trophy at Liverpool’s famous Anfield Stadium.

From 2017 onwards, the Golden Boot award is presented by the International Rugby League.