Brydens Lawyers NSW coach Brad Fittler has slammed the decision to award the Golden Boot to little-known England winger Tommy Makinson claiming it belittles the award.
Makinson beat out a hot field including Australian and NSW Blues fullback James Tedesco, New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and England forward Elliott Whitehead for the award handed to the best international player in the game.
“I thought it was ridiculous,” Fittler said.
“It belittles the award.”
The roll call of previous winners, which included all achievements in rugby league until the award was fine-tuned recently to only international games, includes some of the greatest players to ever lace on a boot. That includes Fittler, Immortals Mal Meninga, Wally Lewis and Andrew Johns, Darren Lockyer, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston.
The award is chosen by rugby league media in both the northern and southern hemispheres and covers all fully sanctioned international games from last December’s World Cup final to Sunday’s second Test between England and New Zealand.
Fittler, who took out the Golden Boot award in 2000, said he was stunned the award had gone to a player who only made his international debut in the Denver Test in May and scored a hat-trick of tries against the Kiwis on Sunday.
“I can’t believe the best player in the world is a person I’ve never seen play,” Fittler said.
“I watched the highlights of the England game yesterday and just saw him score a couple of tries.
“That’s all I’ve ever seen of him and he’s the best player in the world? I find it ridiculous.”
Fittler said he believed Tedesco should have been awarded the Golden Boot after his standout season which included a series win for NSW, a premiership with the Sydney Roosters and his Australian debut for the Kangaroos including a man of the match effort against Tonga.
“James Tedesco was a bit unlucky. He won the Origin, he was the best player in Origin. Oh no, he wasn’t, Billy Slater was,” Fittler said tongue-in-cheek over the controversial decision to name Slater the Wally Lewis Medal winner after missing the first game through injury.
“Dallin was pretty good, he had a good series for New Zealand, but Teddy was a standout.
“He still got the real things, he got to win Origin and he got to win a premiership.
“Like Charlie Sheen, Teddy will just have to live with winning.”