SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Aaron Woods and Sarah Callaway arrive ahead of the 2017 Dally M Awards at The Star on September 27, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Another night of Dally M awards, another day of negative reactions to said Dally M awards.

Absolutely no one can argue that Cameron Smith was the rightful recipient of the night’s top award and the game’s highest individual honour, but that is about where the rightful awards stopped.

First up, it was a borderline disgrace that the Peter Frilingos Memorial Award was awarded to Mitchell Pearce for his field-goal on Anzac Day rather than to Trent Hodkinson for his taking Hannah Rye to her formal earlier this year.

Actually, scratch that, it’s not a borderline disgrace, it’s an out and out farce.

Mitchell Pearce kicked a field goal to win a game. Stop the presses.

Instead, the award should have been given to Hodkinson, and passed onto Hannah’s family, for the story that brought rugby league fans across the game together. It was THE moment of the year, on and off the field and showcased everything that is good about our game.

It was a moment league fans could be proud of. It showed how much our great game meant to someone facing something most of us cannot imagine.

Simply put, it was the most memorable rugby league headline of the year, and rightly so.

Meanwhile, the award was given to a guy who kicked a field goal. Inspiring!

Moving away from that debacle was what most fans are today focusing on, the incredible and shocking, makeup of the Dally M Team of the Year.

With all due respect to Aaron Woods, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside his immediate family who thought he had a better year than Paul Vaughan.

Also with all due respect, you can’t look me in the eye and tell me Dylan Walker had a better season than James Roberts.

Jordan Rapana over Suliasi Vinuvalu? Absolutely kidding yourselves!

Most incredibly, a team of the year was awarded without the presence of the best forward in the world, Jason Taumalolo.

I want to tread carefully here, as anyone who believes Paul Gallen didn’t deserve his position in the team of the year needs their head checked, but Taumalolo deserved it more.

For those who don’t know of the process, the team of the year is decided on by whichever player in their position polls the most Dally M votes. Makes sense I suppose, except it absolutely doesn’t.

This is a ridiculous example but showcases the equally ridiculous system.

If the Storm beat the Eels 60-0, with Vunivalu scoring eight tries and making 400 metres, yet Cameron Smith has ten try assists and makes 450 metres, Smith could claim three Dally M votes, with Vunivalu claiming two.

Meanwhile, the Raiders beat Souths 4-0 with Rapana the least terrible player on the park, picking up three votes, despite only scoring a try and making 48 metres.

Tell me which player played better? Now tell me whose performance counts for more in the team of the year selections!?

In the case of Taumalolo, he was deducted six points due to his suspension earlier in the year. So with those six points being taken off, combined with not polling any points in games while being suspended, of course he had no chance of catching Gallen’s point total.

Gallen, who was by far the Sharks best player all season, can’t be criticised for his efforts, but Taumalolo’s stats trump even Gallen’s, despite playing fewer games.

I’m fully aware that awards are best AND fairest, and suspensions should come into some account, but tell me how the game’s premier lock, and a player averaging over 200 metres per game, isn’t in your team of the year!?

The current system also disadvantages players from teams who aren’t winning, in that three points aren’t often awarded to losing sides, no matter how dominant the player.

The current system also disadvantages players from teams who are winning, in that the Storm for instance often had the best five players on the park at any given time. Addo-Carr had weekends where he was the fourth best on the field, yet the best performing winger across the competition, explaining his low tally despite an incredible season.

I can hear you all now though, asking ‘if the system is bad, how do you suggest we fix it?’


Common sense tells you that Vunivalu was the best winger this season. Common sense tells you that Taumalolo was the game’s elite number 13. Common sense says suggests Dylan Walker was perhaps a little lucky to beat out James Roberts and Will Chambers.

Common sense screams in your face that the awarding of a memorial award to a field goal kicked against a reserve grade side does not mean as much to the game as the Hodkinson front page.

Common sense …

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