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Golden Boot: England internationals Harry Smith and Lewis King make men's and wheelchair shortlists

Wigan Warriors half-back Harry Smith capped a strong year domestically by making his England debut; he could become only the sixth English player to win the men's Golden Boot; London Roosters player and Wheels of Steel winner Lewis King is up for the wheelchair accolade

Picture by John Clifton/ - 04/11/2023 - Rugby League - Men's International - England v Tonga - Headingley Stadium, Leeds, England -
England's Harry Smith
Image: Harry Smith has been nominated for the 2023 men's Golden Boot

Harry Smith and Lewis King are both vying for Golden Boot honours after International Rugby League revealed the shortlist for the men’s, women’s, and wheelchair prizes.

The award is given to the player judged to be the best on the international stage each year, and Wigan Warriors half-back Smith is the only English player up for the men's award.

The 23-year-old capped off a strong year domestically, which included winning the Super League Grand Final, by making his senior international debut in June's 64-0 win over France and appearing in all three matches as England beat Tonga 3-0 in the autumn Test series.

2023 Golden Boot shortlists

Men's: Harry Smith (England), James Fisher-Harris, Joseph Tapine (both New Zealand), Payne Haas (Australia).

Women's: Georgia Hale, Mele Hufanga, Apii Nicholls (all New Zealand), Tamika Upton (Australia).

Wheelchair: Lewis King (England), Jeremy Bourson (France).

New Zealander forwards James Fisher-Harris and Joseph Tapine are both nominated as well after helping the Kiwis win the Pacific Cup, which included their biggest-ever win over Australia in the final. Kangaroos prop Payne Haas completes the list.

Should Smith win, he would become the first English player since Tommy Makinson in 2018 to be awarded the Golden Boot, and only the sixth overall. Ellery Hanley (1988), Garry Schofield (1990), Andy Farrell (2004) and Kevin Sinfield (2012) are the others to be honoured.

King, meanwhile, is nominated for the Wheelchair Golden Boot along with France star Jeremy Bourson, with the duo beating last year's winner Seb Bechara, plus inaugural winner Jack Brown, Nathan Collins, and Lionel Alazard to the shortlist.

King and Bourson were shortlisted following last week's 34-14 win for England over France in Marseille, and should King claim the prize it would come in a year which saw him claim the Wheels of Steel award for his displays for London Roosters in the Betfred Wheelchair Super League.

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Picture by Olly Hassell/ - 05/11/2023 - Wheelchair Rugby League - Men's International - England v France - First Direct Arena, Leeds, England - England's Lewis King is tackled by France's Yann Verdi
Image: Lewis King is one of two players on the 2023 Wheelchair Golden Boot shortlist

No players from the northern hemisphere made the shortlist for the Women's Golden Boot, however. New Zealanders Georgia Hale, Mele Hufanga, Apii Nicholls and Australia full-back Tamika Upton are the four players to be nominated.

"The IRL Golden Boot is one of the game's most prestigious awards and any of the nominated players would be a worthy winner," International Rugby League chair Troy Grant said.

"In recent weeks we have seen all three of last year's World Cup winners - the Kangaroos, Jillaroos and England Wheelchair team - beaten, and this shows how closely contested the international game is.

"That is reflected in the nominations for the 2023 Golden Boot and there is no clear-cut candidate for any of the awards."

Each of the awards will be decided by a panel of experts including former international players and the winners will be announced in early December.

Watch every match of the 2024 Super League season, including Magic Weekend, the play-offs, and men's, women's, and wheelchair Grand Finals, live on Sky Sports. Also stream with NOW.

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