Sydney Roosters star Mitchell Pearce is on course to collect his first Dally M if The81stMinute’s own Steele Sports Medal votes after 16 NRL rounds is anything to go by.
The81stMinute’s annual award has had an uncanny knack of predicting who will come out on top at the Dally M’s.
Last year our award, also given on a 3-2-1 basis, was given to Johnathan Thurston, Jason Taumalolo and Cooper Cronk. Only a few days later Taumalolo and Cronk received the Dally M.
Thurston won the Dally M in 2015 after also polling the most votes by The81stMinute.
In 2014, we awarded our Player of the Year to both Thurston and Jarryd Hayne. A few days later the same pair won the Dally M.
Ben Barba also received both awards in 2012.
Pearce (19) leads the Steele Sports Medal by a single vote from St George Illawarra captain Gareth Widdop (18) with Paul Vaughan and Cameron Smith back on 15 votes.
So where are we at after 16 rounds?
Let’s have a look:
• Two Dragons, Widdop and Vaughan, are in the top three
• Highest of the defending champs is Taumalolo on 10 votes
• Manly is the only other team with two players in the top 10 (Jake Trbojevic and Martin Taupau)
• The next best placed Rooster behind Pearce is Boyd Cordner on 10
• The next best placed Dragon after Widdop and Vaughan is Cameron McInnes on 6
• Cronk is way down on 4 votes
• Thurston will not tally another vote (7) after being ruled out for the season
• Penrith’s run to the finals is highly dependent on Captain Matt Moylan. He is close enough to make a run on 14 votes
• Highest placed rookies are Matt Frawley and Angus Chrichton – both on 5 votes