Cooper Cronk of the Melbourne Storm.
Cooper Cronk of the Melbourne Storm. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Cronk caps great year with Golden Boot award

RUGBY LEAGUE: Cooper Cronk has beaten off challenges from Cameron Smith, Darius Boyd and Jason Taumalolo to become the winner of the 2016 Rugby League World Golden Boot.

The award, decided by a panel of experts including Darren Lockyer, rounded off a spectacular year for the Melbourne Storm and Australia halfback.

The 33-year-old won his second Dally M Medal, jointly with Taumalolo, was player of the tournament as the Kangaroos won the Four Nations and helped Queensland to yet another State of Origin triumph.

He also was a key reason why the Melbourne Storm won the minor premiership and reached the NRL grand final, leading the Storm in try and line-break assists and ranking third for tries scored.

Cronk also brought up his 300-game milestone, becoming just the 25th player in NRL history to do so.