Click here for Part 1 of our 50 Fearless Predictions for 2021 (50-41)
Click here for Part 2 of our 50 Fearless Predictions for 2021 (40-31)
Click here for Part 3 of our 50 Fearless Predictions for 2021 (30-21)
20. Dally M Fullback of the Year
It’s the most hotly contested position in the NRL, but despite stars like Teddy, Latrell, Papenhuyzen, AJ Brimson and Gutherson getting about, it’ll be Tom Trbojevic who picks up the award after playing 20+ games for the first time since 2018.
19. Dally M Wingers of the Year
Daniel Tupou will back up a stellar Origin series to win his first Dally M gong, and will be joined by Maroon debutant Xavier Coates. While Brisbane won’t have a winning season, Coates will star on the end of the backline as he’s chased by at least three rival clubs.
18. Dally M Centres of the Year
If Kotoni Staggs wasn’t set to miss a big chunk of the season with an ACL tear, he’d be a shoe in. Instead, rookie Stephen Crichton will pick up his second consecutive Centre of the Year award after playing outside Jarome Luai and Viliame Kikau, and setting up his outside in Charlie Staines. The other? Bradman Best is going to take it up another gear and be the shining light in that Newcastle backline… Even outshining custodian Kalyn Ponga.
17. Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year
For the third time in four years, Cameron Munster will take home the award, as well as finishing top three in Dally M voting. After a shocker in his last Grand Final in 2018, getting sin-binned twice, Munster reclaimed the tag as ‘a big game player’ after starring through the Finals campaign, and claiming the Wally Lewis medal after two stunning displays.
16. Dally M Halfback of the Year
Daly Cherry-Evans was vastly underrated in 2020, and after fans called all season for Nathan Cleary to be the next Kangaroos halfback, DCE outshone him in the Origin series. Astute running game, pinpoint kicking and a coolheaded nature on field, Cherry-Evans won’t be forgotten about anytime soon.
15. Dally M Props of the Year
Addin Fonua-Blake will relish a change of clubs and piggyback the club alongside RTS through the season, to just fall short of a finals berth. Similiar to Newcastle a few years ago with Dave Klemmer, the Warriors were crying for an aggressive prop to lead the pack. Christian Welch was close to a Clive Churchill after his Grand Final performance, and backed up that in Origin. He’ll be consistently one of the game’s best props in 2021, and the accolade to prove it.
14. Dally M Hooker of the Year
This is a narrow two-horse race between Damien Cook and Harry Grant, with Grant forming a new big three with Papenhuyzen and Munster, while Cook will play in a forward pack boosted by the inclusion of Jai Arrow. Both player’s clubs will go close to a premiership, but some adjusting to life without Cam Smith will see Cook edge Grant to win the award, though both will be in the Kangaroo’s World Cup squad.
13. Dally M Second-Rowers of the Year
Kenny Bromwich was overshadowed by Felise Kaufusi over the last few seasons, but we saw the Kiwi international step out and star in 2020, and will go even further this year as he snares one of the two back-row spots. With Boyd Cordner surrounded by concussion question marks, Angus Crichton will be a force this season. There’s talk of him being forced out with the Tigers sniffing out, but Crichton will prove to Trent Robinson he simply can’t be lost.
12. Dally M Lock of the Year
Not the most fearless prediction, but two-time Dally M Medallist Jason Taumalolo will rack up the stats despite another bottom four finish for the Cowboys. Cameron Murray will suffer from another early season move to the edge, Victor Radley will take some warming up after an ACL tear, with Isaah Yeo the main competitor. It’s Taumalolo time.
11. Daly M Medal
No, not a typo. Daly Cherry-Evans will win his first Dally M medal at the ripe age of 32, a decade after his Grand Final win and eight years after snaring a Clive Churchill. Win or lose, you can usually bank on Cherry-Evans’ kicking game to earn him a point in a loss, and it’s a battle between him and Tommy Turbo for the three points in a victory. He’ll join Jarryd Hayne as the only men of the last decade to win the Dally M and miss the finals.