MELBOURNE Storm skipper and future Immortal Cameron Smith looks set to take home his second Dally M medal after a mammoth season at the helm of the NRL’s most dominant side.
Outstanding seasons from Daly Cherry-Evans, Paul Gallen and Gareth Widdop could see the tensions rise during the final countdown, but not much appears to stand in the way of Smith.
The veteran hooker will also be recognised for surpassing Darren Lockyer’s historic 355-game record to become the most-capped rugby league player in history.
Join us for all the action from the jam-packed night at the Star Casino.
Another record for Cameron Smith on the cards
After 357 games (and counting) for the Storm, one could say Cameron Smith has done everything that needs to be done in the NRL arena. The 34-year-old has had a stellar year, becoming the first forward in the game’s history to reach 2000 points and passed Darren Lockyer’s historic 355-match record.
And there’s yet another record for the veteran Queenslander to break tonight.
Should Smith win the Dally M Medal tonight, it will be the longest gap a player has spent between two awards. Frequently touted as one of the greatest players of the modern era, it’s a little strange to see him enter 2017 with just one best and fairest accolade. Smith last claimed the game’s highest honour in 2006, 11 seasons ago.
Currently, Johnathan Thurston has spent the longest between Dally M Medals after claiming his third (out of four) in 2014 alongside Jarryd Hayne after waiting seven years since his previous one in 2007.
Smith sits at $1.06 on TAB to take this year’s Dally M Medal.
The votes leaderboard after Round 14 (before they were kept secret):
20 — Cameron Smith
15 — Mitchell Pearce
15 — Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
14 — Paul Gallen
14 — Paul Vaughan
Record-smashing Taumalolo is having an off year, apparently
According to North Queensland coach Paul Green, Jason Taumalolo isn’t having his best NRL season.
But it seems someone has forgotten to tell the Cowboys wrecking ball. The barnstorming Kiwi international needs just 54m in Sunday’s NRL grand final against Melbourne to become the first forward in the competition’s history to crack 5000m for a season.
Only ex-Sydney Roosters speedster Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (5795m in 2015) has broken the 5000m barrier in the NRL’s previous 19 seasons.
Taumalolo shared the Dally M Medal last year with Cooper Cronk but his numbers have been staggering this year.
He is averaging 198m a match from his 25 games to date.
Last year Taumalolo made 4486m at 166m a game.
But asked if Taumalolo was having his best season yet, Green baulked before pointing to Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith’s overwhelming Dally M Medal favouritism.
“He won the Dally M last year but we were talking about Cam Smith winning the Dally M this year so maybe not,” he said.
Then Green uttered the words rivals no doubt feared - 24-year-old Taumalolo is only going to get better.
“What we are seeing is his development as a player,” Green said. “He is still pretty young and I still think he has plenty of improvement left in him.
“But he has been tremendous for us. He is one of the guys who have taken ownership and leadership.” Master of understatement Taumalolo believed he was in “good form heading into a grand final”.
“For the moment I am happy with where I am at - I can be better in some areas, just effort areas,” he said.
“But apart from that I am pretty happy with how I am going.” Taumalolo said he no choice but to find another gear in 2017 with co-captain and Test prop Matt Scott sidelined since round two.
“I have more accountability on myself this year especially with Matt Scott not in the middle taking charge,” he said.
“I think Scott Bolton and I have taken it on ourselves to guide the boys around the park and helping out the young boys coming off the bench, showing a bit of leadership to them.”
- Cam Smith set for yet another record
Load more updates...Read more