State of Origin Game 2, Allianz Stadium pic Dave Tease smpimages.com

JOHNATHAN Thurston is in line to become the first man to be crowned rugby league's world player of the year three times.

The North Queensland superstar is joined by South Sydney grand final hero and Australian Test and Queensland Maroons team-mate Greg Inglis among six players named on the shortlist for the 2014 Golden Boot.

The other nominees are New Zealand Four Nations winners Shaun Johnson and Jesse Bromwich and English powerhouses James Graham and Sam Burgess.

Thurston earlier this year joined rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns as only the second player to secure three Dally M Medals as the best player in the NRL.

Now the champion halfback can create more history next month by surpassing Johns (1999 and 2001) and former Australian captain Darren Lockyer (2003 and 2006) as the first man to win three Golden Boot awards.

While he missed the Four Nations, Thurston was named man of the match in the Kangaroos' Anzac Test win over New Zealand this year and enjoyed another outstanding NRL campaign with the Cowboys.

Thurston, who won the coveted award in 2011 and last year, has stiff competition, though.

Inglis, himself chasing a second Golden Boot after collecting the gong in 2009, and Burgess, who has already been crowned international player of the year, led the Rabbitohs to their first grand final triumph in 43 years this season.

Burgess is looking to go one better than last year when he was also shortlisted, only to lose out to Thurston.

Johnson was the Kiwis' go-to player throughout the Four Nations tournament and produced a man-of-the-match performance in New Zealand's 22-18 final win over Australia.

Graham led the Bulldogs to the NRL grand final as well as captaining England at the Four Nations.

The 2014 recipient as well as a World XIII will be revealed in next month's Rugby League World publication, out on December 19.

 SIX OF THE BEST - THE NOMINEES

Jesse Bromwich - Melbourne Storm and New Zealand
Sam Burgess - South Sydney
James Graham - Canterbury and England
Greg Inglis - South Sydney, Queensland and Australia
Shaun Johnson - Warriors and New Zealand
Johnathan Thurston - North Queensland, Queensland and Australia

PAST GOLDEN BOOT WINNERS

1984: Wally Lewis
1985: Brett Kenny
1986: Garry Jack
1987: Hugh McGahan, Peter Sterling
1988: Ellery Hanley
1989: Mal Meninga
1990: Garry Schofield
1999: Andrew Johns
2000: Brad Fittler
2001: Andrew Johns
2002: Stacey Jones
2003: Darren Lockyer
2004: Andrew Farrell
2005: Anthony Minichiello
2006: Darren Lockyer
2007: Cameron Smith
2008: Billy Slater
2009: Greg Inglis
2010: Benji Marshall
2011: Johnathan Thurston
2012: Kevin Sinfield
2013: Johnathan Thurston

This article first appeared on NRL.com