Leeds Rhinos and England captain Kevin Sinfield has become only the fourth Englishman to win the prestigious Golden Boot.
The 32-year-old beat off competition from Wigan Warriors full-back Sam Tomkins, the 2012 Man of Steel, and Australians Cameron Smith, Ben Barba, Cooper Cronk and Nate Myles to lift the prize, awarded annually to the game’s greatest player by Rugby League World magazine.
Sinfield skippered the Rhinos to a sixth Super League title in nine years, famously overcoming a sickening head knock to be named man of the match in his side’s win over Warrington Wolves, and celebrated his appointment as national captain by leading England to victory in the 2012 autumn international series.
He also led Leeds to World Club Challenge success over Manly Sea Eagles and to a third consecutive Challenge Cup final appearance at Wembley in 2012.
Sinfield told the Rhinos website: "It is a huge, huge honour. It was really nice just to be nominated, so to actually get the award is a bit surreal. I am really humbled by it.
"You certainly have to pinch yourself. I would never have dreamt of being on a list with such illustrious Englishmen, but not only that, people like Wally Lewis....there are some absolute immortals of the game.
"It is such a huge honour and obviously to follow my hero Ellery, it has been really special.
"There were some fantastic players on the shortlist so to come out on top is really nice, but I think it is testament to the teams I have played in with Leeds and England. I've played amongst fantastic players."
Martyn Sadler, chairman of publishers League Publications Ltd, said: "Obviously there were four very good Australian players shortlisted but I have no doubt we gave it to the right player.
"Kevin played the whole year with a broken wrist. He didn't miss a single week of the season because Leeds got to every final they could get to.
"They beat Manly, they won the Super League Grand Final, got the Challenge Cup final and Sinfield led them all the way.
"He peaked at the time of all the big matches and then he captained England to some very comfortable wins over Wales and France.
"He didn't put a foot wrong and I am thoroughly convinced he deserves the Golden Boot."
Sinfield is the first Englishman to win the Golden Boot since former Wigan and Great Britain skipper Andy Farrell triumphed in 2004.
Ellery Hanley (1988) and Garry Schofield (1990) are the only others to win the award since it was introduced in 1984.
Rugby League World editor John Drake said: “The British game can and does still produce individuals of world-class ability.
“Kevin Sinfield is one such player and it is right that his towering achievements in 2012 should be recognised with the Golden Boot.”