Roger Tuivasa-Sheck became the first Warriors player to win the Dally M Medal at rugby league's night of nights (and a few* beers...).
Tuivasa-Sheck topped the tally in a dramatic final round of voting, edging out Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks’ Valentine Holmes.
None of the top five players on the final leaderboard – Tuivasa-Sheck, Ponga, Holmes, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Pearce – had ever won a Dally M Medal previously.
Tuivasa-Sheck polled 29 points in a glittering ceremony at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, overtaking Ponga in the final round.
Just four points separated the top four players in the final voting.
Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith, just days away from his third consecutive Grand Final, was awarded Captain of the Year honours, while his teammate Cameron Munster won Five-Eighth of the Year.
Blake Ferguson from the Sydney Roosters, who will oppose the Storm on Sunday at ANZ Stadium, took out Winger of the Year honours.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Coach Anthony Seibold won Coach of the Year, while the prestigious Provan Summons People’s Choice award was won by Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook, who also won Hooker of the Year.
The Rookie of the Year award was taken out by Brisbane Broncos flyer Jamayne Isaako, while the Dally M Female Player of the Year was the Broncos’ Brittany Breayley.
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The Ken Stephen Medal was also awarded during the ceremony, to Gold Coast Titans Captain Ryan James.
“This is a night we can celebrate the incredible feats of our players,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said during the ceremony.
“Our players are the reason we have seen crowds, ratings and memberships increase this year.
“Our players played such a key role in the rise in participation this year – because young girls and boys want to be like them.”
In a special presentation, former St George player Steve Morris was officially added to the record books as the first recipient of the Dally M Medal.
Morris was awarded a Dally M Medal in 1979, but until tonight was never acknowledged as a Dally M Medal winner.
“Steve has never been recognised since,” Greenberg said. “But our records will be updated to show that he won the first Dally M Medal.”
The full list of winners is:
Dally M Player of the Year: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
Captain of the Year: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)
Coach of the Year: Anthony Seibold (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Peter Moore Award for Rookie of the Year: Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos)
Fullback of the Year: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
Winger of the Year: Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters)
Centre of the Year: Joseph Leilua (Canberra Raiders)
Five-eighth of the Year: Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
Halfback of the Year: Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers)
Lock of the Year: Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
Second-rower of the Year: Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Prop of the Year: Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
Hooker of the Year: Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Interchange Player of the Year: Jazz Tevaga (Warriors)
Top Points Scorer: Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos)
Top Try Scorer: David Fusitu’a (Warriors)
Provan Summons People’s Choice Medal: Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Female Player of the Year: Brittany Breayley (Brisbane Broncos)
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Ken Stephen Medal: Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)