Welcome back to the Zero Tackle Dally M predictions.

Whilst part one dealt with the team of the year, its sequel discusses the coach, the rookie and the captain that stood out the most in 2022, and of course the main award.

Who will win it? Have the likes of Ben Hunt or Nicho Hynes done enough, or could we see a front-rower win in Joseph Tapine?

Scroll below and all shall be revealed.

Ken Irvine Medal

This award is a tad different, there are no candidates because we already know the winner - Alex Johnston!

The South Sydney winger breaks records for fun, becoming the first rugby league player in history to notch 30+ tries in a season twice - let alone in consecutive seasons. It's the fourth time in his nine-year career he's won the award, his maiden season back in 2014, and then again in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

He has a hat-trick of awards for scoring hat-tricks.

Johnston is now the fifth all-time leading try scorer in competition history, and trailing the leading Ken Irvine by 46 tries, we could be calling this the Alex Johnston Medal one day.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Alex Johnston of the Rabbitohs scores a try during the round 17 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium on July 2, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Dally M

Candidates: Dylan Edwards, Ben Hunt, Nicho Hynes, Cameron Munster, Joseph Tapine

It's such a wide open race for the top award this season, with several strong candidates putting their name forward. Edwards has been the most underrated player in the NRL this season, a tough and energetic mainstay, however with so many star team mates, points must be shared around, which could cost the fullback.

It's a similar story for Munster, with a stack of elite players in the Melbourne side, as well as their midseason flat spot, it could cost him points. We haven't seen a forward win the gong since Jason Taumalolo but Tapine will go close after some barnstorming displays.

Hynes and Hunt are split down the middle, however the key difference will be the points each other poll during a loss. Hynes has suffered less defeats in 2022, however he would've registered little-to-no points in the losses, whereas when you look at Hunt's season, he's the only thing keeping the club from wooden spoon contention.

Verdict: Ben Hunt

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Ben Hunt of the Dragons scores a try during the NRL Semi Final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Dally M Rookie of the Year

Candidates: Lachlan Ilias, Jacob KirazEzra MamTaylan May, Jeremiah Nanai, Xavier Savage

A hotly contested field, the eligibility criteria states that a player must have played four or less games in the prior season if they are to win the award, leaving many of these 2021 debutants scraping into the mix.

Ilias has had some monster boots to fill since being named Adam Reynolds' successor at Redfern, and while a midseason slump saw him hooked 28 minutes into a clash, he bounced back and shone in that stacked Souths side.

Kiraz and Mam both debuted later in the season, the former playing once before Round 11 while the latter made his maiden first-grade appearance in the very same week. Mam has starred playing second-fiddle to Reynolds, though his defence has seen him dumped for the final regular season round.

Kiraz has been extremely strong for Canterbury both on and off the field, and the Knights ruing after the Newcastle junior scored a hat-trick at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Xavier Savage has been more than admirable in the absence of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, but this award should already have Jeremiah Nanai's name engraved on it. The Cowboys forward has scored 17 tries in 20 games for a side sitting third on the ladder, largely thanks to him. Playing four games in 2021, the newly-minted Maroon will be a long-term force.

Verdict: Jeremiah Nanai

NRL Rd 3 - Broncos v Cowboys
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Jeremiah Nanai of the Cowboys (L) is tackled by Herbie Farnworth of the Broncos during the round three NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium, on March 27, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Dan Peled/Getty Images)

Dally M Coach of the Year

Candidates: Ivan Cleary, Craig Fitzgibbon, Todd Payten, Kevin Walters

It feels like one of these don't belong, but don't be fooled. Brisbane may have capitulated late in the season, though even despite Tyson Gamble's comments, Walters had lifted from a 14th placed 2021 finish to the top four with a month and change left.

Cleary is an automatic mention with the minor premiership and just three regular season games. Unfortunately a series of blood clots has sidelined Ivan this season, forcing Cameron Ciraldo to take the reins on numerous occasions.

Payten and Fitzgibbon have taken their sides from the bottom eight to the top three this year, with the two coaches both desperate for the other to lose this weekend in order to secure a home qualifying final - likely against each other.

It's a tight battle, however for Payten to take a side widely tipped for the wooden spoon into a 17-win, 3rd placed season is phenomenal, especially after his recruitment of Chad Townsend and Peta Hiku were panned at the time. He's taken them far, but there's still a ways to go.

Verdict: Todd Payten

North Queensland Cowboys Scrimmage and Fan Day In Ayr
AYR, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 13: Cowboys coach Todd Payten looks on during a North Queensland Cowboys Scrimmage game against the Townsville Blackhawks at Rugby Park on February 13, 2021 in Ayr, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Dally M Captain of the Year

Candidates: Adam Reynolds, Cameron Murray, Clint Gutherson, Isaah Yeo, James Tedesco

It's hard listing Reynolds after Brisbane's late-season capitulation, however where would Brisbane be in 2022 without him? The former Rabbitoh gave the Broncos the match-winning experience they were crying out for desperately.

His South Sydney successor in Cam Murray has been as professional as possible in his maiden season as captain, the 24-year old will most likely still be leading the club in 2030, and potentially his state and country by then.

You can't not include Yeo after yet another stellar season from Penrith, his co-captain in Nathan Cleary has missed a decent chunk of football however Isaah has stood tall, as has Rooster James Tedesco.

A 2021 season without Luke Keary meant Tedesco had to step up, and he hasn't stepped back since, professional, busy and classy in all he does. A red hot chance of leading Australia at the World Cup.

Clint Gutherson is so consistent, and has now led Parramatta to their first preliminary final in 13 years. He's incredibly vocal, safe as houses under the high ball and is simply involved in everything good that the Eels accomplish, on and off the pitch.

Verdict: Clint Gutherson

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Clint Gutherson of the Eels on his way to a try during the round eight NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Parramatta Eels at Stadium Australia, on May 01, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Dally M Female Player of the Year

Candidates: Isabelle Kelly, Samantha Bremner, Emma Tonegato, Simaima Taufa

There has been some breakout moments in the NRLW this season, from Jesse Southwell's right-foot step to score in Round 1 to the ageless Stephanie Hancock, the dominance from the Sydney Roosters matched by the Newcastle Knights' sudden emergence.

The undefeated Roosters have two candidates, and there could easily be more in that star-studded side. Bremner has shown her class this season while captain Kelly has been incredibly strong on the left edge, bringing Jamayne Fressard into play while Kelly weaves herself.

Emma Tonegato split the award with Millie Boyle earlier this season but wants one just for her after shining for the Dragons in both seasons this year. Simaima Taufa is another to leave her stamp on this season, Parramatta's lock forward not afraid of putting a hit on or taking a tough carry when it's needed. Massive reason why Parramatta snuck into the finals.

Verdict: Isabelle Kelly

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Isabelle Kelly of the Roosters is tackled by Jessica Sergis of the Dragons during the round three WNRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Allianz Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)



  1. Delete Walters as a candidate and replace him with Brad Arthur. If Parra wins the GF then BA is almost a shoo-in for the award.

Comments are closed.