The NRL season isn’t far away now! Here is part four of our 50 Fearless Predictions for 2020.
20. Dally M Captain of the Year – Cameron Smith is the most influential player to lace a boot in the modern era and he’s been leading for so long winning is just in his nature now. He’ll lead his side to another top four berth, and ensure the club succeeds long after his retirement thanks to his mentoring of young hookers Brandon Smith and Harry Grant.
19. Dally M Lock of the Year – Another two-horse race, Cameron Murray will back-up his breakout season and confirm himself as one of the sport’s greatest young stars. Stunning footwork and lightning play the balls on the field as well as a fantastic work ethic and pure professionalism off the field, the kid will captain his country one day.
18. Dally M Second-Rower of the Year – He’ll be getting booed by every Tiger fan in the building when Wests play Parramatta, but Ryan Matterson will shine on the right edge for Parramatta, lining up between the NRL’s leading try-assist machine in Mitch Moses and the ever enigmatic Waqa Blake.
17. Dally M Hooker of the Year – Damien Cook is in his prime, and we saw a huge jump from Cook in 2019 as his kicking game dramatically improved, and was the only non-halfback in the NRL’s top five for try-assists. Cameron Smith is the only man who could even be considered for the award, they’re in a league of their own.
16. Dally M Prop of the Year – Payne Haas is incredibly athletic for his age, and can somehow churn out 200 metres a game, playing 80 minutes a game. And he’s just turned 20! Until the game finally spits out someone similar, Haas will dominate for years.
15. Dally M Halfback of the Year – Mitchell Moses’ attacking game has been superb of late, especially at Bankwest, but it’ll be a reduction in his missed tackles that sees him clench the gong.
14. Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year – Luke Keary will win this as he finally takes ownership of the tricolurs outfit. There’s no doubt how great he’s been the last few seasons, but he always shone brighter when Cronk was out and he got to take control of the side, as he did in the 2018 Grand Final with Cronk unable to lift his arm all game. Being the dominant half, it’s Keary’s year.
13. Dally M Centre of the Year – Now that Latrell Mitchell has all but certainly flown the coup, people will finally realise how good Joey Manu is. He no longer has the blessing of playing outside Cronk, but a resurgence of Crichton on the right edge will see Manu with all the time and space that he needs.
12. Dally M Winger of the Year – The fact he wasn’t even nominated last year was absurd, but Maika Sivo will shrug off his controversial off-season to be crowned the season’s best flank man.
11. Dally M Fullback of the Year – James Tedesco is the best fullback in the game right now. Plain and simple. And while he has forwards like JWH and Taukieaho laying the platform and the likes of Jake Friend and Luke Keary playing off the back of them, Teddy will shine.