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Kelly honoured to create Golden Boot history

Australian Jillaroos centre Isabelle Kelly capped off an incredible 12 months by being named the inaugural women's RLIF Golden Boot award winner at a presentation dinner in Leeds on Wednesday night (Thursday morning AEDT).

Kelly enjoyed a stellar season and was among Australia's best in last year's victorious World Cup campaign and recent end-of-season Test against the Kiwi Ferns in Auckland.

The Roosters and NSW star pipped Jillaroos teammates Ali Brigginshaw and Brittany Breayley for the award, along with Kiwi Ferns winger Honey Hireme and England's Georgia Roche, who were all in contention.

It marked the first time the golden boot award included a women's accolade.

The talented 22-year-old was unable to attend the evening but sent a video message from Australia to accept the award.

The RLIF Golden Boot award recognises the most outstanding performances in both men's and women's international matches and covers all fully sanctioned international games played from last December's World Cup final to last week's second Test between England and New Zealand.

The award is chosen by a panel drawn from rugby league media in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Isabelle Kelly wins inaugural women's Golden Boot

The panel comprises senior reporter Brad Walter, BBC commentator Dave Woods, renowned journalist Steve Mascord, film maker and Pacific specialist Joanna Lester and League Express managing editor Martyn Sadler.

"I honestly never thought I'd be where I am. Just to be nominated for the Golden Boot I was so excited but to be the actual winner, words can't explain," Kelly said.

"I think it's just great to see that so many kids can now look up and see that when you're on the international stage there is an award for you that you can strive to.

"I know the men have had it for a while but to be the first ever one for the women's game is just something that so many people can look forward to and strive to, to get that award."

Kelly scored two tries in the World Cup final against the Kiwi Ferns last December, before a further two in the Jillaroos' latest 26-24 win over their counterparts in the Trans-Tasman last month.

The Central Coast product averaged 159 metres across both games.

Kelly dedicated her win to her fiancé, Jake Callister and her family, particularly her late mother, Maree.

I know that she would be screaming up there for me right now.

Isabelle Kelly

"Definitely my family and my mum that's passed. She never got to watch me play rugby league so that's a massive thing to me because I always strive to make her proud and I know that she would be screaming up there for me right now.

"My dad is my No.1 role model and he was over the moon. It took a while for him to get what I was saying but once he got it he was so excited - he hasn't stopped talking about it," Kelly said.

"Also my recently new fiancé was over the moon and he also hasn't stopped talking about it - he's so proud of me and wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for those two. I've had the best year of footy and also off the field as well."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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