Tedesco snubbed in Golden Boot shocker
FIRST it was the Wally Lewis Medal, now it’s the Golden Boot — James Tedesco must be wondering what else he can do.
The fullback clinched the NRL premiership with the Sydney Roosters, was a key member of the NSW Blues State of Origin victory and starred for Australia in the recent Tests matches in New Zealand.
But the superstar was again overlooked for what is billed as the code’s highest honour, the Golden Boot.
The award is voted on by international rugby league media and has traditionally been awarded to the player deemed the best in the world.
This year is the first year it has gone to a player based only on international performances since last year’s World Cup final.
And the title went to English winger Tommy Makinson.
Makinson scored 11 tries to finish equal fifth in tries overall — for St Helens.
He was equal 22nd overall, behind Man of Steel and runaway tryscoring champion Ben Barba, who had 28 tries.
Makinson only made his Test debut in June and scored a hat-trick against New Zealand last weekend, scoring four tries in three games, including a hat-trick in a 20-14 win last weekend.
Makinson beat Tedesco, New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Englishman Elliott Whitehead to the Rugby League International Federation award.
Tedesco was named man of the match in Australia’s Test win over Tonga.
NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler spoke to NSWRL and slammed the decision as belittling the award.
“I can’t believe the best player in the world is a person I’ve never seen play,” Fittler, the Golden Boot winner in 2000, 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.”
The previous winners of the Golden Boot include some of the legends of the game including Immortals Mal Meninga, Wally Lewis and Andrew Johns, Darren Lockyer, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston.
Fittler said Tedesco should have won.
“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 joked.
“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.”
Greg Alexander, who was one of Fittler’s assistants with the Blues, also slammed the decision with foxsports.com.au.
“The fact that this bloke’s won it just shatters the integrity of the award,” Alexander, who was a former judge of the award, said.
“To be honest, I’d never heard of him until he scored three tries on the weekend.
“When I read up about him, his first game was in the Denver Test off the bench — seriously?”
Speaking on Fox Sports News, rugby league commentator Dan Ginnane was stunned by the award.
“He scored 11 tries all season, he’s a winger — Ben Barba scored something like 28. If you can’t even be the best player on your team…” Ginnane said.
“It is a magazine award. Like everything in rugby league, it is a mess.”
Social media was also bemused by the result.
England coach Wayne Bennett’s comments after last weekend’s match against New Zealand spoke louder than he may have intended.
Bennett praised the winger but his comments also confirmed he hadn’t seen much of Makinson.
“I just want to know where you’ve been hiding him,” Bennett said.
“I didn’t know about Tom until we took him to America and I realised he was pretty special then.”
Makinson was surprised and pleased by the result of the award.
“Yeah it’s pretty special — it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Even to be nominated was something special and to come away with it means so much to me,” he said.
“I had my injury doubts and troubles — for two years I was out of the game so I was questioning myself when I come back. I come back slowly from those injuries then got two good years before me which gave me confidence.
“It’s been a tough two Tests and it could have gone either way. We want to go all the way and win all three and the Kiwis aren’t just going to let that happen so it’s going to be another tough Test.”
Australian Jillaroo Isabelle Kelly won the inaugural women’s Golden Book award.
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