NRL Rd 12 - Sea Eagles v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers kicks during the round 12 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland on August 01, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The contenders for the Dally M have been confirmed, and the award will be handed out on Monday evening.

The NRL have announced five players who can win the award, in the form of Nathan Cleary, Tom Trbojevic, Cody Walker, Daly Cherry-Evans and James Tedesco.

The official leaderboard to the end of Round 19 when it was announced last Monday evening by the NRL looked like this:

Full story: Contenders revealed, leaderboard to Round 19 announced

Leaderboard at the end of Roud 19

1. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers) - 24 votes
2. Tom Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles) - 23 votes
3. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand Warriors) - 21 votes
4. Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons) - 18 votes
5. Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs) - 17 votes*
5. Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles) - 17 votes

5. James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers) - 17 votes
5. Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne Storm) - 15 votes
9. Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels) - 16 votes
10. James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters) - 15 votes

* - Three votes deducted for suspension
** - Players in italics are the nominated contenders

The count until the end of Round 19 leaves us with just six rounds remaining in the season.

Zero Tackle's MVP series has ran throughout the season with four judges voting on each game assigning votes on a five to one basis in a slight variation to the Dally M award, meaning our model has significantly higher scores.

The end of Round 19 by our count actually had Clint Gutherson leading Cody Walker, with Nathan Cleary third and Tom Trbojevic fifth.

Trbojevic went on to play five of the last six games, meaning he could have polled a maximum 100 votes. His score went up by 93 in that time, meaning he went very close to being perfect.

MUDGEE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Tom Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles scores a try during the round six NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Gold Coast Titans at Glen Willow Sporting Complex, on April 17, 2021, in Mudgee, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

It means he is a heavy favourite for the Dally M Medal, given Nathan Cleary only featured in three out of the last six games. In saying that, he scored 56 out of a possible 60 votes in that period, meaning he is likely to secure a full nine points from the Dally M.

That seems unlikely to be enough to see off the Trbojevic threat however.

Cody Walker was also near faultless towards the end of the season, increasing his score by 70 votes out of a possible 120. He has a gap to make up on Trbojevic however, meaning it's unlikely he will be able to bridge the gap, while Daly Cherry-Evans not only has a gap to make up, but lost plenty of votes to Trbojevic.

James Tedesco managed to finish fifth in our MVP, swooping in from outside the top ten, but that is unlikely to help his cause given the size of the gap he must make up to the Manly fullback.

NRL Rd 9 - Cowboys v Roosters
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 09: James Tedesco of the Roosters runs the ball during the round nine NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters at QCB Stadium on July 09, 2020 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Trbojevic is the undoubted favourite to take out the game's top gong given his close to the season, which would be an unbelievable achievement considering he only played 15 games this season.

Team of the year

The NRL will also name a team of the year on Monday night. Using our MVP system, here is the team we have come up with to take out the awards.

The team is listed in 1-13 position order, as it will be on Monday night, while we have also included players MVP finishing positions and total votes.

Where players have played in multiple positions, we have only considered them for the position they played the most games in throughout the season.

1. Tom Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles) - 247 votes, 1st place
2. Brian To'o (Penrith Panthers) - 182 votes, 7th place
3. Matt Burton (Penrith Panthers) - 110 votes, 23rd place
4. Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm) - 107 votes, 24th place
5. Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders) - 97 votes, 34th place
6. Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs) - 244 votes, 2nd place
7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers) - 228 votes, 3rd place
8. Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos) - 115 votes, 20th place
9. Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm) - 128 votes, 17th place
10. James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers) - 114 votes, 21st place
11. Isaiah Papali'i (Parramatta Eels) - 125 votes, 18th place
12. David Fifita (Gold Coast Titans) - 104 votes, 28th place
13. Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs) - 68 votes, 52nd place

For the full MVP leaderboard, click here.



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