CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 09: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Kiwis charges forward during the Rugby League Test match between the New Zealand Kiwis and the Great Britain Rugby League Lions at Orangetheory Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The shortlist for the 2019 Golden Boot has been narrowed down to three and there is still the chance to make history. The award has never gone to a front-rower and/or a non-Tier 1 player before and could this year.

The Golden Boot award is for the best player in international games over the previous 12 months. Kiwis Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are two of the final three alongside Tonga’s Siosiua Taukeiaho. The winner will be announced on Sunday.

The voting period does include this Saturday’s Test between Great Britain and Papua New Guinea but no player from either side is close to making a late effort.

For the women’s award Jillaroos Ali Brigginshaw and Jess Sergis are shortlisted but England captain Emily Rudge can still have a chance with four tries last weekend against the PNG Orchids and another Test against PNG ahead of the men’s test on Saturday.

The award was initially run by UK magazine Rugby League World (formerly known as Open Rugby) before it was acquired by the RLIF (now IRL) and mixed with their International Player of the Year award in 2018.

The 2018 award was met with criticism with England winger Tommy Makinson winning and the 10-man shortlist for 2019 cause similar reactions in Australia particularly with the exclusion of Dally M and Brad Fittler medal winner James Tedesco.

This can be seen as part of the award’s movement away from being for the ‘best player in the world’ and rather for the ‘best international player of the year’.

With only two matches played and only one of those won Kangaroos players didn’t have much hope of winning and none made the 10-man list.

The voting period started right after the 2018 award so in that time England/Great Britain players and New Zealand players could have reached a maximum of five games with Tonga/Tonga Invitational and Fiji Bati players reaching up to three.

The Kiwis won four of their five, Fiji took three from three and Tonga won two of their three. England/Great Britain, by contrast, have lost all four of their matches this period with one game to go against PNG.

Taukeiaho would be the first player to win from a nation other than Australia, New Zealand or England/Great Britain.

At the same time, it has never been won by a prop, it has been mostly won by playmakers.

This puts Taukeiaho and Waerea-Hargreaves in line to be the first. Many consider Tuivasa-Sheck to be the favourite with his fantastic performances in the four matches he played for New Zealand this year.

A win for him would make him the first Kiwi to win since Shaun Johnson in 2014 and the first fullback since Billy Slater in 2008.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This is no surprise to Sydney fans. The Sydney Rooster Coaching team us the best in the League filtering right through the entire club in all grades.

    These three players have all learnt their trade at the Roosters and all won Premierships at the Roosters.

    JWH Rooster pack leader who belted those Burgess brothers from pillar to post and Taukeiaho the Tongan pack leader and metre eater with continuous masive running metres, are indeed the two stand outs who have both been the platform for back to back premierships in Australia.
    It is no coincidence that Tonga and NZ with these two props have dominated the internatinal stage recently against England and Australia.

    My Tip Taukeiaho just in front of JWH. Taukeiaho has had a magnifiscent rep season for Tonga.

  2. Poor state the international game is in when these 3 average players are the last 3 in the race for the golden boot award.

  3. If the Roosters two props are average then I would hate to think what you would call Parra’s current front rowers. In the test match’s, Taukeiaho averaged 176m and 33 tackles, RTS averaged 175m and 3 tackles how often do you see front rowers running more metres than fullbacks after they have made 33 smashing tackles.

    Look Kev I think you better put a replay on of the 1986 grand final and check out your two bookends Bugden and Eggbeater once more. They are miles behind even The weakest Nrl props of todays standard.

  4. BenH, I think that’s a “fair” response to a comment like Kev’s, but not “fair” in general.
    “I would hate to think what you would call Parra’s current front rowers”. Again, I understand the context, and let’s face it, Parra generally isn’t/hasn’t been in the “strongest forward pack” league. That said, and it took a post I read on ZT very recently for me to realise it’s a lot stronger than you might think.
    I’m very happy with how we’re shaping up.

  5. What a poor excuse for an award this is. They should scrap this non sense or make it fair by counting the same number of tests played for every player in every team. Not have someone win because they got to play 5 tests compared to someone else who was only ever going to play 1 test in 12 mths due to poor scheduling.

  6. Kev’s hatred of Rooster players. I just thought I would remind him regardless of his sarcasm, that the Two Test props for the Roosters are performing in the Test arena as they have in back to back grand finals.

    Kev only watches Parra Grand Finals so he would not know any better poor lad. Just let him know also RTS was the Best and Fairest player in 2018.

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