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Marshall Wins Golden Boot, 5 Kiwis in Team of the Year

Marshall Wins Golden Boot, Five Kiwis Feature in Team of the Year

Auckland, New Zealand, December 3, 2010 – Kiwi captain Benji Marshall collected the biggest individual accolade of his career when he was today named the winner of rugby league’s Golden Boot award as the world’s best player.

Just three weeks after leading the Kiwis to their 16-12 triumph against Australia in the Four Nations final, 2008 World Cup winner Marshall won the Golden Boot by an overwhelming margin.

Fellow Kiwi Shaun Kenny-Dowall, the New Zealand Rugby League’s 2010 Player of the Year and the Rugby League International Federation’s Centre of the Year, finished second in the voting. The other players in contention were Australians Paul Gallen, Billy Slater and Sam Thaiday plus England’s James Graham.

As well as Wests Tigers standoff Marshall and Sydney Roosters centre Kenny-Dowall, Kiwi wingers Manu Vatuvei (Vodafone Warriors) and Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra) plus halfback Nathan Fien (St George Illawarra) made the team of the year. The only non-Kiwis in the backline are Australians Slater at fullback and Brent Tate in the centres.

“To win this award, after coming back from three shoulder reconstructions, winning the Four Nations, and having my best ever year since I've started in the NRL, is pretty overwhelming," said Marshall.

“I'm pretty excited. It is something I definitely won't take for granted.”

Marshall becomes just the third New Zealander to win the Golden Boot after Hugh McGahan (1987) and Stacey Jones (2002).

New Zealand Rugby League chief executive Jim Doyle said the award was a fitting acknowledgement for Marshall, who engineered all three of the Kiwis’ tries in their Four Nations victory.

"This award rounds out a great year for rugby league in New Zealand,” he said.

“With winning the World Cup, the Four Nations and now the Golden Boot as the world’s best player, the game is in really good heart.

"Benji is a most deserved winner. He showed during the Four Nations that he is an excellent leader both on and off the field and we couldn't be more pleased for him."

The voting panel included three former Golden Boot winners in Wally Lewis, Hugh McGahan and Stacey Jones, former Great Britain international Garry Schofield, former England Rugby League coach Phil Larder, ex NSW coach turned broadcaster Phil Gould, former France coach Louis Bonnery, as well as journalists and supporters from both hemispheres.

Rugby League World magazine editor John Drake declared Marshall a dominant victor.

"It was a landslide victory for Benji Marshall who achieved maximum points from 11 of the 13 members of the voting panel,'' said Drake.

"The Golden Boot award recognises a whole year of performances at domestic and international level.

"Benji's match-winning performance in the biggest game of the season, the Four Nations final against Australia, proved his undoubted class. The very best players produce their very best performances on the biggest stages."

2010 Team of the Year:

Fullback: Billy Slater (Australia)

Wingers: Manu Vatuvei (New Zealand), Jason Nightingale (New Zealand)

Centres: Shaun Kenny-Dowall (New Zealand), Brent Tate (Australia)

Standoff: Benji Marshall (New Zealand)

Halfback: Nathan Fien (New Zealand)

Loose Forward: Paul Gallen (Australia)

Second Rowers: Sam Thaiday (Australia), Sam Burgess (England)

Props: David Shillington (Australia), James Graham (England)

Hooker: Cameron Smith (Australia)

Golden Boot winners:

1984 Wally Lewis (Australia)

1985 Brett Kenny (Australia)

1986 Garry Jack (Australia)

1987 Hugh McGahan (New Zealand) & Peter Sterling (Australia)

1988 Ellery Hanley (Great Britain)

1989 Mal Meninga (Australia)

1990-1998 No award given

1999 Andrew Johns (Australia)

2000 Brad Fittler (Australia)

2001 Andrew Johns (Australia)

2002 Stacey Jones (New Zealand)

2003 Darren Lockyer (Australia)

2004 Andrew Farrell (Great Britain)

2005 Anthony Minichiello (Australia)

2006 Darren Lockyer (Australia)

2007 Cameron Smith (Australia)

2008 Billy Slater (Australia)

2009 Greg Inglis (Australia)

2010 Benji Marshall (New Zealand)


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