Craig Gower's furious swipe at NRL over Dally M medal: 'Load of sh*t'

Craig Gower (pictured right) celebrating the 2003 Premiership win with Ryan Girdler (pictured left).
Craig Gower (pictured right) has claimed he has contacted the NRL about being awarded the Dally M medal for 2003 retrospectively for his outstanding season, but was denied the request. (Getty Images)

Former Penrith Panthers star Craig Gower has let rip at the NRL for not recognising him as the 2003 Dally M winner after the awards were cancelled due to a player strike.

In 2003, the Dally M medal ceremony didn't go ahead as players boycotted the awards as part of the Rugby League Players Association's move to demand better wages and conditions.

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However, this meant that the NRL didn't hand out a best player award for the season.

Unfortunately for Gower the premiership winner was heavy favourite to win the award heading into the final round.

The former playmaker admits that he has spoken the NRL's head of football, Graham Annesley, about potentially being recognised as the 2003 winner.

However, Annesley claimed they are unable to verify who won the award.

“I think it’s dead and buried really,” Gower told SEN Radio.

“From their point of view they can’t determine if I’ve definitely won it, which is a load of shit, really."

Gower said he made the right choice as a club delegate of the players association to not attend the Dally M, but claimed it would have been nice to be recognised for his outstanding 2003 season.

“It gave the players access, which is good. We’ve got more of a say, which is what we were after," he added.

“At the end of the day I’ll take a grand final win over a Dally M, but it’s certainly a nice accolade to have.”

Gower's comments come after Nicho Hynes won the Dally M medal and halfback of the year award in 2022.

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Gower was leading the Dally M voting by one point over Brad Fittler and Clinton Shifcofske heading into the final round in 2003.

However, no points were granted due to the upcoming player boycott of the Dally M.

Gower did have a man-of-the-match performance in the final round of the regular season, which would most likely have guaranteed him the top accolade.

And Fittler has thrown his support behind handing Gower the Dally M medal for 2003.

Back in 2020, former teammate Fittler detailed why the players chose to take action using the Dally M ceremony as a focal point.

Craig Gower (pictured) during a Penrith Panthers game.
Craig Gower (pictured) has called for the Dally M medal to be handed out for 2003, which saw the ceremony cancelled due to a player boycott. (Getty Images)

“It was well before the end that it was all decided. It was a long time before the end that we all got together,” he told Channel Nine.

“We had a group of 10 players that used to get together and meet and talk about what we need in the game.

“There was all different things thrown up and that was sort of the least of the evils or the least of the impacts that we could have on the game.

“Sure someone misses out on an award, but there was a fair bit done during that period as well.”

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