International Rugby League will be awarding the Golden Boot to the player who is judged to have been the best wheelchair rugby league player in international competitions during the year. This award joins and sits alongside the Golden Boots awarded annually to the best international male and female players giving the game a trio of global award winners.
The first winner of the International Rugby League Wheelchair Golden Boot will be crowned at Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds on Friday January 31st, 2020 at the annual UK Wheelchair RL Awards Dinner.
The Golden Boot which is the most prestigious individual award in international rugby league was first awarded in 1984 with Wally Lewis winning the inaugural award. New Zealand’s Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was crowned the latest winner of the men’s award in November and Australia’s Jessica Sergis became the second winner of the women’s award which was introduced in 2018.
Eight players have been nominated after a busy international wheelchair season featuring France, England, Australia, Wales and Scotland. The competition for the Golden Boot will continue to grow as we approach Rugby League World Cup 2021 when all of the above nations plus teams from Norway, Spain and the USA will compete to become International Rugby League world champions.
Nigel Wood, IRL Chief Executive Officer said:
We are delighted to announce the addition of a third Golden Boot award for rugby league. We are keen to recognise the rapid progress of wheelchair rugby league over recent times, and the outstanding skill, athleticism and courage of those involved. It is without doubt, one of the greatest undiscovered aspects of rugby league but that will all change as wheelchair rugby league continues to excite, thrill and enthral up to, and beyond the world cup. The award of the Golden Boot will attract more eyeballs to this magnificent version of rugby league and that can only be welcomed.
The members of the newly formed International Rugby League Wheelchair Advisory Group have formed the judging panel for the 2019 award, and they will have a tough job identifying one player from this impressive list.
The eight nominees for the IRL Wheelchair Rugby League Golden Boot 2019 are:
Cory Cannane (Australia)
Jack Brown, Nathan Collins and James Simpson (England)
Gilles Clausells and Kevin Pastor (France)
Jay Anderson (Scotland)
Stuart Williams (Wales)