St Helens’ winger Tommy Makinson has beaten competition from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, James Tedesco and England teammate Elliott Whitehead to win the rugby league Golden Boot award, cementing his place as one of the best try scorers in the game.
Approaching two hundred career matches for the Saints, 27-year-old Makinson scored eleven tries in 2018 and, in June, made his England debut in Denver, crossing for a try as Wayne Bennett’s team beat New Zealand. His international head coach admitted that he wasn’t aware of Makinson’s talents until this season and, when Ryan Hall was ruled out of the post-season test series with injury, he was given the chance to stake his claim for the vacant left wing berth – an opportunity he has taken with both hands.
After being a key part of the England team who edged the first test against New Zealand in Hull but, in the second at Anfield, he truly stole the show with a hat-trick. Three superb finishes sealed a series victory for Bennett’s men with a game to spare and, with just three international appearances to his name, Makinson seems to have cemented himself on the global scene of rugby league. “If you look at the three games he’s had for England, he’s been outstanding, absolutely outstanding,” Bennett explained.
His performances for St Helens throughout 2018 – both in defence and attack – helped Justin Holbrook’s team win the League Leaders’ Shield and reach the Challenge Cup semi finals.
In winning the award, Makinson has become just the fifth English winner of the prestigious Golden Boot award, following Kevin Sinfield (2012), Andy Farrell (2004), Garry Schofield (1990) and Ellery Hanley (1988) in winning the accolade.