The Dally M Medal was compromised long before Ruan Sims voting drama




As a teenager representing the mighty Macarthur Saints in the local Campbelltown competition, I was lucky enough to be invited along to two Wests Juniors Player of the Year award nights.

Luckier still, I actually won one of them. It was an amazing honour even as a 15-year-old because it was voted on by the referees. Every single game, every week, the referee in-charge of your match would vote on a 3-2-1 basis. It’s a pretty basic system and it’s hard to argue with. In fact, most outsiders to rugby league probably wouldn’t even know that the Dally M is actually voted on by the media – not the referees.

Absurd? Abso-bloody-lutely!

Jillaroo Ruan Sims (who also doubles as a co-host on Channel Nine’s 100% Footy and ABC Grandstand and is very, very good) found herself in hot water recently when it was revealed that she gave votes in a Parramatta versus Manly game despite playing at the same time herself in a match at Shark Park. This is obviously against Dally M regulations. Judges need to be live at the ground. It was picked up on social media and the rest is history as they say. Sims had little choice but to stand down.

“Let me start by saying it was an honest mistake,” she said on Channel Nine Monday night.

“But that being said it’s still one that shouldn’t have happened.

“I voted without watching the entire game live, which is part of the stipulations of voting as a Dally M judge. I feel sick about it. In hindsight I would do everything differently.

“The integrity of the game and the awards are of the upmost importance. And I think they need to be upheld every step of the way and I just didn’t do that this weekend.

“And that’s why I’ve decided I want to step down from the role because I didn’t want to bring that into disrepute. I am very devastated by it and more disappointed in myself.”

Some tried to call it a “witch hunt”. Others defended Sims. Most believe she had to stand down. Everyone agrees she should be left alone – she has made the right decision.

The real issue here is that our most prestigious individual honour is being decided by different factions of the media and not the referees.

Years ago, the Rothmans Medal was rugby league’s top award for players because it was voted by the referees.

That stopped in 1998 with Brad Fittler winning the last Rothmans Medal in 1997.

Rugby league’s top gong should be for the game’s best and fairest player and shouldn’t be blurred because we allow certain parts of the media to determine the outcome.


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