Tedesco snubbed in Golden Boot award upset
ENGLISH winger Tom Makinson is the shock winner of the 2018 Golden Boot Award, beating out James Tedesco, Elliott Whitehead and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for the honour.
The St Helens star got his opportunity to play for England during the three-Test series against New Zealand, impressing on the big stage with a hat-trick against the Kiwis at Anfield last week.
The 27-year-old's surprise selection for the award caps off a breakthrough season on the international scene.
Makinson becomes the fifth English player to be awarded the Golden Boot since 1984 and first since former captain Kevin Sinfield in 2012. He's also the first winger to win the award.
In the lead-up to the award, Australia, NSW and Roosters fullback Tedesco was considered favourite to land the accolade after winning a State of Origin series and an NRL premiership, as well as strong performances on debut for the Kangaroos.
However, Tedesco was hurt by the judging criteria in 2018, with the award recognising the most outstanding performances in international football.
It covers all international games played from the World Cup final in December to Sunday's Test between the Kiwis and England.
Tedesco made his debut for Australia in the Kangaroos' loss to New Zealand last month before they bounced back to beat Tonga. He was also a part of Italy's disappointing showing in the 2017 World Cup.
Makinson made his debut for England off the bench in the mid-year Test in Denver, and was then called into Wayne Bennett's starting team for the end of year series against the Kiwis, where he has starred.
The announcement was met with mixed response on social media.
Earlier, Roosters and Jillaroos centre Isabelle Kelly was awarded the inaugural women's Golden Boot award.
Kelly had a breakthrough season in 2018, starring for NSW in their State of Origin win and helping the Roosters to the historic Women's NRL grand final.
Kelly scored two tries in the World Cup final against the Kiwi Ferns last year, and a further two in the Jillaroos' 26-24 win in the Trans-Tasman last month.
The 22-year-old won the award over Jillaroos teammates Ali Brigginshaw and Brittany Breayley as well as Georgia Roche (England) and Honey Hireme (New Zealand).
The Golden Boot awards are chosen by a panel of rugby league media across the world, comprising NRL.com's Brad Walter, BBC commentator Dave Woods, journalist Steve Mascord, film-maker and Pacific specialist Joanna Lester and League Express managing editor Martyn Sadler.
Past 10 winners
2017: Cameron Smith
2016: Cooper Cronk
2015: Johnathan Thurston
2014: Shaun Johnson
2013: Johnathan Thurston
2012: Kevin Sinfield
2011: Johnathan Thurston
2010: Benji Marshall
2009: Greg Inglis
2008: Billy Slater