TUIVASA-SHECK CLAIMS HISTORIC DALLY M MEDAL WIN

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has created history by becoming the first Warriors player to win the Dally M Medal, edging out Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga and Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks in a thrilling final count.

The inspirational Warriors skipper, who also took out the Fullback of the Year award, scored the maximum three votes in Round 25 to leapfrog Ponga and win the NRL’s highest individual honour with 29 points – two ahead of Ponga, with bolter Brooks one further back.

Valentine Holmes came home with a wet sail to finish fourth, while Mitchell Pearce rounded out the top five, incredibly polling 23 points despite playing just 15 games for only seven wins.

Tuivasa-Sheck netted 14 votes in the last nine rounds, picking up two in the Round 18 win over the Broncos and the loss to the Storm a week later, recorded back-to-back three-point games against the Dragons and Knights, nabbed a point in another losing effort against the Bulldogs, and then took the all-important three points in the final round against the Raiders to clinch the Medal.

He is also just the third New Zealander to win the prestigious award, after Gary Freeman (1992) and Jason Taumalolo (2016).

In a spine-tingling aftermath to RTS’s winning speech, clubmates Issac Luke and Jazz Tevaga, Canberra’s Jordan Rapana and Rookie of the Year winner Jamayne Isaako performed a haka for the 2018 Dally M medallist.

Tevaga added his name to the modest pantheon of Warriors to grab a win at the Dally Ms, named the Interchange Player of the Year, while Luke finished equal-eighth in the Dally M Medal count with 18 votes. Damien Cook, widely regarded as a contender for the Dally M, finished tied with Luke on the leaderboard but edged the Warriors No.9 for the Hooker of the Year nod.

The night didn’t start off particularly well for the Warriors, with Stephen Kearney missing out on Coach of the Year honours to deserving South Sydney mentor Anthony Seibold and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck bewilderingly snubbed for the Captain of the Year gong in favour of (yawn) Cameron Smith.

The Top Tryscorer trophy is always something of an anticlimax given the result is already known, but David Fusitu’a becoming the first Warriors player to top the charts took on extra special significance when he was awarded the inaugural Ken Irvine Medal. Fusitu’a was overlooked for the Winger of the Year prize in favour of Blake Ferguson.

Warriors hooker Krystal Rota was one of the four nominees for the Female Player of the Year award, which went to Broncos No.9 Brittany Breayley.

The positional awards for the Dally M Team of the Year went largely to script, aside from the dubious inclusion of Josh Jackson as Second-rower of the Year ahead of Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Tohu Harris, and the farcical pick of Joey Leilua as Centre of the Year at the expense of Latrell Mitchell and probably half a dozen other three-quarters.

 

2018 DALLY M MEDAL FINAL LEADERBOARD

29 – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
27 – Kalyn Ponga
26 – Luke Brooks
25 – Valentine Holmes
23 – Mitchell Pearce
19 – Jason Taumalolo
19 – Cameron Munster
18 – Damien Cook
18 – Issac Luke
18 – Ashley Taylor

2018 DALLY M AWARDS

Player of the Year: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Rookie of the Year: Jamayne Isaako
Coach of the Year: Anthony Seibold
Provan-Summons Medal: Damien Cook
Female Player of the Year: Brittany Breayley
Fullback of the Year: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Winger of the Year: Blake Ferguson
Centre of the Year: Joseph Leilua
Five-eighth of the Year: Cameron Munster
Halfback of the Year: Luke Brooks
Prop of the Year: Andrew Fifita
Hooker of the Year: Damien Cook
Second-rower of the Year: Josh Jackson
Lock of the Year: Jason Taumalolo
Interchange Player of the Year: Jazz Tevaga
Peter Frilingos Memorial Headline Moment of the Year: Women’s State of Origin
Ken Irvine Medal – Top Tryscorer: David Fusitu’a
Top Pointscorer: Jamayne Isaako
Ken Stephen Medal: Ryan James

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