Manly Warringah Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic has capped a spectacular 2021 season by being crowned the 2021 Dally M Medal winner in Brisbane.
In a ceremony held in Brisbane for the first time ever, Trbojevic became the first Sea Eagles player to win the coveted award since Matt Orford won in 2008.
The Sea Eagles star polled 35 points, ahead of Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary (30), and Cody Walker (29). Trbojevic’s teammate Daly Cherry-Evans and Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco (both 23) rounded out the top five.
Trbojevic’s ascension to the medal was complete in Round 24, when he polled three points against the Bulldogs. Remarkably, he polled three points in 11 matches in 2021.
This year’s Dally M Awards once again featured a full 13-man team as its Team of the Year.
Grand finalists Penrith Panthers dominated the Team of the Year, with six members crowned – prop James Fisher-Harris, second-rower Viliame Kikau, lock Isaah Yeo, winger Brian To’o and centre Matt Burton joining Cleary at halfback.
Melbourne Storm’s remarkable season was celebrated with a number of landmark achievements – Craig Bellamy won Dally M Coach of the Year, while the 19-match winning streak – which equalled the efforts of the 1975 Roosters team – was named the Peter Frilingos Headline Moment, alongside Justin Olam (Centre of the Year) and Brandon Smith (Hooker of the Year).
Retiring Sydney Roosters centre Josh Morris was given the honour of winning the Provan-Summons Medal – the Spirit of the Game award – after the emotional embrace with his twin brother Brett following Brett’s season-ending injury in Round 8.
Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco was awarded Captain of the Year, while teammate Sam Walker was rewarded for a stellar season with Rookie of the Year honours.
“On behalf of the game, congratulations to Tom Trbojevic on winning rugby league’s highest individual honour,” NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said.
“It’s a remarkable achievement in a remarkable year to poll 3 points in 11 different games.
“Congratulations to every winner. Tonight we reflected on the people and moments of the season. The players. The coaches. The teamwork. The deep tribalism. The unmatched athleticism. The unforgettable moments of brilliance.”
The full list of winners is:
Dally M Player of the Year – Tom Trbojevic – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Prop – Payne Haas – Brisbane Broncos
Prop – James Fisher-Harris – Penrith Panthers
Second Row – Viliame Kikau – Penrith Panthers
Second Row – Isaiah Papali’i – Parramatta Eels
Lock – Isaah Yeo – Penrith Panthers
Winger – Brian To’o – Penrith Panthers
Winger – Reuben Garrick – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Centre – Matt Burton – Penrith Panthers
Centre – Justin Olam – Melbourne Storm
Five-Eighth – Cody Walker – South Sydney Rabbitohs
Halfback – Nathan Cleary – Penrith Panthers
Hooker – Brandon Smith – Melbourne Storm
Fullback – Tom Trbojevic – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Rookie of the Year – Sam Walker – Sydney Roosters
Captain of the Year – James Tedesco – Sydney Roosters
Coach of the Year – Craig Bellamy – Melbourne Storm
Top Points Scorer – Reuben Garrick – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Top Try Scorer (Ken Irvine Medal) – Alex Johnston – South Sydney Rabbitohs
Peter Frilingos Headline Moment: Melbourne Storm’s 19-match winning streak
Provan-Summons – Josh Morris – Sydney Roosters
DrinkWise Try of the Year: Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
YOUI Tackle of the Year: Xavier Coates (Brisbane Broncos)
VB Hardest Working Player of the Year: Isaiah Papali’i (Parramatta Eels)