Sinfield wins Golden Boot
Leeds and England captain Kevin Sinfield is "humbled" to accept the award of the Golden Boot as the game's best player.
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The 32-year-old beat off competition from Wigan full-back and reigning Man of Steel Sam Tomkins, and Australians Cameron Smith, Ben Barba, Cooper Cronk and Nate Myles to claim the prestigious prize.
Sinfield is only the fourth Englishman to take the honour, awarded annually by Rugby League World magazine, after Ellery Hanley (1988), Garry Schofield (1990) and Andy Farrell (2004).
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."
Sinfield skippered Leeds to a sixth Super League success in nine years, famously overcoming a sickening blow to the head to be named man of the match in the Grand Final victory over Warrington.
The Rhinos also beat Manly Sea Eagles in the World Club Challenge and reached the Challenge Cup final under Sinfield's captaincy.
In addition, he was named as the new captain of England and led the national side to victory in the 2012 autumn international series.
It later emerged he had played throughout the year with a fractured wrist, on which he has now had surgery.
Yet Sinfield does not want to take all the credit for his success.
He said: "I think this club and this team is all about team awards. It is really nice to win an individual one but without every one of my team-mates and every one of the coaching staff, and everyone else doing their jobs, and doing them very well, it wouldn't allow me to do my job.
"We all play a small part in the organisation and I think this award represents the team, not just myself."
Perhaps inevitably, the choice of recipient has attracted criticism from the Australian media, but Rugby League World have no doubt Sinfield is a worthy winner.
Martyn Sadler, chairman of publishers League Publications Ltd, said: "We obviously anticipated this. We knew if we didn't give it to an Australian they would be unhappy about it. They think the game begins and ends with the NRL.
"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."