SIX players are on the shortlist to win the 2007 'Rugby League World' magazine Golden Boot award, with the winner to be announced in the next issue of the magazine, which will be on sale on Friday November 30. The award is presented to the outstanding international player of the season.
In an exciting development for the award, fans will be able to have their say via the Total Rugby League and League Unlimited websites. The votes will be cast on Monday November 19 after France play New Zealand in Paris, the last major international fixture of the year.
The award was inaugurated in 1985 with Australian captain Wally Lewis scooping the award. Great players like Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling and Hugh McGahan who shared the award in 1988, Ellery Hanley and Mal Meninga went on to win the award in its early years.
After an eight year absence, the award was presented to Andrew Johns in 1999 who went on to win it again in 2001. Darren Lockyer is the only other player to win the Golden Boot twice.
The 2007 nominees, in alphabetical order, are:
*New Zealand's Roy Asotasi, the captain of his country who played no small part in the glorious resurgence of South Sydney Rabbitohs after his close-season move from Canterbury Bulldogs. With Asotasi in outstanding form, the Rabbitohs reached the play-offs for the first time since 1989. He has also been the stand out New Zealand Test player in 2007, in a struggling side.
*Great Britain's Gareth Ellis, who won the 'Rugby League World' magazineSuper League Player of the Year. Often on the field for 80 minutes, Ellis was outstanding in the Grand Final, and has maintained his excellent form in Great Britain's victorious Test series against New Zealand.
*Great Britain's captain Jamie Peacock who finished the Super League season in the same outstanding form that led to him winning the International Forward of the Year title in 2006. Peacock was hugely instrumental in Leeds winning the Super League crown while captaining Great Britain to their first Test series win since 1993, winning the Man of the Match award in the second Test at Hull.
*Australia's Steven Price, whose commanding prop forward performances saw him regain his place in the Australian Test side after an absence of two years. He is the cornerstone of a much-improved New Zealand Warriors team but saved his best performance of the season for the first State of Origin match, as the Maroons triumphed 25-18 with the veteran prop in magnificent form. Price finished the year by representing the All Golds in their historic match against the Northern Union and, in doing so, followed in Dally Messenger's footsteps as the sole Australian in the side.
*Australia's Cameron Smith, who featured at hooker in his country's two emphatic Test wins over New Zealand. He won the Wally Lewis medal as the outstanding individual in the State of Origin series as his state, Queensland, won the series. He also captained Melbourne Storm to Premiership success in the NRL.
*Australia's Johnathan Thurston who is regarded by many as the best player in the world. The North Queensland Cowboys halfback led his team to within one game of the Grand Final whilst being highly instrumental in Queensland's State of Origin success and guiding Australia to victory against New Zealand in the Anzac Test.
Peacock told 'Rugby Leaguer & League Express': "it's a massive honour to be on the shortlist and I remember the early winners from when I was a kid. There are some great players on that list so it's a real compliment to be on there but I've been very fortunate to play in successful teams at the end of the year which has enabled me to shine.
"I remember Ellery Hanley winning it and he was an idol of mine just like he's an idol of most blokes my age."
The winner of the prestigious award will be selected by a panel of 14 judges. On the panel are the editors of five Rugby League magazines:
Richard de la Rivi Like