2023 IRL Golden Boot nominees shortlisted

Kiwis captain James Fisher-Harris, lock Joseph Tapine and Kangaroos prop Payne Haas are in line to become the first running forward to win the IRL Golden Boot in 20 years.

They are being selected on a short list of four nominees for the 2023 award.

Fisher-Harris and Tapine, who helped New Zealand to a record 30-0 defeat of Australia in the inaugural Pacific Cup final, are vying with Haas and England halfback Harry Smith for the 2023 IRL Golden Boot as international player of the year.

Kiwi Ferns trio Georgia Hale, Mele Hufanga, Apii Nicholls and Jillaroos fullback Tamika Upton have been shortlisted for the women’s Golden Boot, while Frenchman Jeremy Bourson and England’s Lewis King are the contenders for the wheelchair Golden Boot.

The last running forward to win the Golden Boot was former Great Britain captain Andy Farrell, who played mostly second-row or lock in his 34 international appearances before switching to rugby union, where he now coaches Ireland.

Former Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith, who is one of nine players to have played more than 50 internationals, won the Golden Boot in 2007 and 2017 but he was a dummy half and not a running forward like Fisher-Harris, Tapine and Haas.

The only other forward to have won the Golden Boot was former New Zealand captain Hugh McGahan in 1987, while England’s Kevin Sinfield played halfback when he received the award in 2012.

The men’s 2023 IRL Golden Boot short list of Fisher-Harris, Haas, Smith and Tapine was chosen by a panel comprising of Golden Cap recipients Adam Blair, James Graham, Darren Lockyer, Adrian Morley and Ruben Wiki, who have each played more than 50 internationals.

The quartet were selected from a long list of 20 players nominated by members of the media in Australia, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, after the conclusion of the Pacific Championships and the historic England-Tonga series.

The women’s IRL Golden Boot winner short list was chosen from 14 nominees after the Pacific Championships, which featured New Zealand’s first triumph over the Jillaroos since 2016, and internationals in Europe. 

Players from England, France, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Cook Islands were also nominated, before the New Zealand trio of Hale, Hufanga and Nicholls and Australia’s Upton were shortlisted.

The women’s 2023 IRL Golden Boot winner will be selected by Australian Jillaroos great Karyn Murphy, former New Zealand dual code superstar Honey Hireme-Smiler and England 2017 World Cup prop turned rugby league commentator Danika Priim.

The winners of the 2023 IRL Golden Boot awards will be announced in early December.

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