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Thurston named best rugby league player in the world

Jonathan Thurston. Image credit: Fox Sport
NORTH Queensland superstar Jonathan Thurston has capped a stellar 2013 rugby league season by being named the Golden Boot international player of the year winner for the second time.
Thurston was the undoubted star of Australia's World Cup triumph in the UK, collecting four man of the match awards as the Kangaroos swept through the event undefeated and largely untroubled.
The superstar five-eighth joins the likes of Darren Lockyer (2003, 2006) and Andrew Johns (1999, 2001) as the only men to have ever won the award twice.
He and Lockyer also hold the distinction of having won the award playing in two different positions, as Thurston was a halfback when he first won the crown in 2011 and is now playing five-eighth for club, state and country.
Lockyer's award came after he had made the successful shift from fullback to five-eighth in the same year he led his club to the NRL premiership and Queensland to State of Origin success.
Thurston won this year's award from an all-star cast which included his Kangaroos teammates in skipper Cameron Smith and Dally M medal winner Cooper Cronk, Kiwi superstar Sonny Bill Williams, South Sydney's English star Sam Burgess and Scotland's Danny Brough.
As much as the Cowboys captain would be thrilled at his individual accolade, Thurston is motivated by his club's lack of NRL premiership success and this week returned to training in Townsville with renewed vigour under new coach Paul Green.
The Golden Boot is awarded by a panel journalists and conducted by Rugby League World magazine. A World XIII team is also named and this year featured an entire team of players based solely in Australia's NRL competition, with no representatives from Super League.
"We asked the panel to consider performances in international matches first and foremost and, given his outstanding World Cup campaign, Johnathan Thurston has emerged as a deserving winner," Rugby League World editor Gareth Walker said.
"It was typical of the way he orchestrated his Australian side superbly in the match that mattered most, though it should be noted that he was excellent for the entire competition.
"Ever since breaking onto the international scene almost eight years ago, Thurston has been at the very forefront of the sport at its highest level. During that time he has also collected a host of individual honours domestically and is at the very centre of Queensland's stunning run of wins."
Australia had nine players in the World III, five Queenslanders, three from NSW and Jamie Lyon who has retired from representative football.
2013 WORLD XIII: Billy Slater (Australia), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand), Greg Inglis (Australia), Jamie Lyon (Australia), Brett Morris (Australia); Johnathan Thurston (Australia), Cooper Cronk (Australia); Sam Burgess (England), Cameron Smith (Australia), James Graham (England), Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), Greg Bird (Australia), Paul Gallen (Australia).
GOLDEN BOOT VOTING 2013: Johnathan Thurston - 41 points, Sam Burgess - 34 points, Sonny Bill Williams - 23 points, Cameron Smith - 13 points, Danny Brough - 5 points, Cooper Cronk - 1 point

Source: Fox Sport 

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