Immortality awaits Cameron Smith after he won his second Gold Boot Award and joined an elite group to have been judged the world's best on numerous occasions.
The Melbourne Storm, Queensland Maroons and Australia skipper was presented with the award by RLIF chairman Nigel Wood at a World Cup luncheon in Brisbane on Wednesday, a decade after he won the prestigious gong in 2007.
Smith edged out Tongan wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo to claim the prestigious prize, with England winger Jermaine McGilvary finishing third. Fiji's Suliasi Vunivalu also made the four-man short list.
Only Johnathan Thurston (2011, 2013 and 2015), Darren Lockyer (2003 and 2006) and Andrew Johns (1999 and 2001) had won the coveted Golden Boot more than once prior to Smith.
Kangaroos great Brett Kenny, who won the Golden Boot in 1985, said Smith deserved the award after a year where he won the Dally M Medal, led the Storm to a premiership, the Maroons to a State of Origin title and Australia into Saturday's World Cup final against England.
"He's had a great year as captain of Melbourne, Queensland and Australia and is just a phenomenal player who gets better as he gets older," Kenny said.
"Cameron deserves the award for his overall performances.
"Melbourne were the best side by a country mile this year and he was a major driver of that."
Kenny has no doubt Smith – who holds the NRL games played record with 358 – will break the magic 400 mark and in due course become one of the game's Immortals.
"I reckon if the Kangaroos win this weekend he will call it quits on the international stage, but the way he looks after himself and the way he is playing he will reach the 400-game mark in the NRL within the next two seasons for sure," Kenny said.
"Who knows he might go another 12 months after that. You look at him and he is playing like he is in mid 20s.
Kenny said his 1985 Golden Boot Award still held pride of place in his heart and on display in his home.
This article first appeared on NRL.com
>>> Earlier in the day, New Zealand Kiwi Ferns back-rower Teuila Fotu-Moala edged out Queensland and Australian half Ali Brigginshaw to be named the Women’s Rugby League World Cup Player of the Tournament.
The impressive played in three of four matches leading up to the Kiwi Ferns' World Cup final against the Jillaroos on Saturday.
Her performances proved enough to edge out her fellow short-listed players; Kiwi Ferns team-mate Honey Hireme and Jillaroos playmaker Brigginshaw, who has been outstanding so far during this World Cup.