Thurston scoops Golden Boot
Australians dominate 2011 awards
Last Updated: 02/12/11 4:43pm
Johnathan Thurston: The 2011 Golden Boot winner
Australia's Johnathan Thurston has claimed the 2011 Golden Boot, which is awarded to the game's top international player by Rugby League World Magazine.
Thurston, the man of the match in the Four Nations final, got the nod ahead of 2007 winner Cameron Smith, with retired Australia captain Darren Lockyer edging out the England trio of Sam Tomkins, James Graham and Ryan Hall from the six-strong shortlist to finish third in the poll.
Thurston maintains the southern hemisphere stranglehold on the prestigious award, with Ellery Hanley, Garry Schofield and Andrew Farrell the only Englishmen among the 21 previous winners going back to 1984.
Rugby League World editor John Drake commented: "It was one of the closest races for the Golden Boot in years, which emphasises just how much fantastic talent there is in our game at the highest level.
"The award recognises a whole year of performances at domestic and international level and Johnathan's match-winning performance in the biggest game of the season, the Four Nations final against England, proved he is a worthy recipient."
Leeds winger Hall and St Helens prop Graham, shortly to join Sydney club Canterbury Bulldogs, gained some consolation by being named in the annual World XIII.
The only Golden Boot nominee not to make the line-up is Wigan full-back Tomkins, who lost out to Australia's Billy Slater.
Despite England's improved performances in 2011 which saw them reach the Four Nations final, the World XIII is still dominated by Australians with Sydney-based Gareth Ellis the only other England player to force his way into the line-up.
Team of the year: B Slater (Melbourne); A Uate (Newcastle), G Inglis (South Sydney), J Lyon (Manly), R Hall (Leeds); D Lockyer (Brisbane), J Thurston (North Queensland); J Graham (St Helens), C Smith (Melbourne), P Gallen (Cronulla), S Thaiday (Brisbane), G Ellis (Wests Tigers), A Watmough (Manly).