Todd Greenberg has been called out by fans after a confusing response to the backlash surrounding Billy Slater’s State of Origin man of the series award.
NRL boss Greenberg on Thursday said he will consider changing the voting mechanism which awarded Slater the Wally Lewis medal for best player across the series, after a storm of criticism.
But who polled what will remain a secret, with Greenberg saying it wouldn’t be “fair” on judges Mal Meninga, Darren Lockyer and Laurie Daley to reveal their votes.
Slater became the first player to claim the medal from the losing side of an Origin series when he was awarded the honour after Queensland’s game three win on Wednesday.
Slater was out injured in the opener but was arguably the Maroons’ best upon his return in game two and again in the final match.
Meninga, Lockyer and Daley voted on a 4-3-2-1 basis for their best players in each game but it seems the even spread of contributors in the NSW team counted against the series winners.
Even Greenberg admitted he was “surprised” that Slater emerged triumphant.
“The way it’s described to me is there was a stand-out performer in one side, being Queensland, which is Billy Slater who collected a number of votes,” Greenberg told reporters on Thursday in Brisbane.
“And in NSW votes were spread among multiple players who performed well across the series.”
Asked if the outcome highlighted shortcomings in the system, Greenberg said: “Potentially, yes. Which is why if we have to review it, we’ll have a look at it.
“If there’s a better system we can look at, we’re always open to it. We review everything at the end of an Origin series, so I’m sure that will be part of it.
“But what you can’t question is the integrity of the three people making the decision, and you can’t question the capacity they have to judge that themselves as three people who played the game at the highest level.”
However, Greenberg said the NRL would not disclose their votes, with the judges all signing confidentiality agreements.
“I don’t think it’s fair on them to go back and ask them to disclose who they voted for or how they voted,” he said.
“I don’t think that happens in any medium that I’ve seen. We don’t do it for the Dally Ms, we don’t do it for other awards, why would we do it for this?”
However many were quick to point out that the Dally M votes are indeed revealed to the public every week.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg refuses to release votes for Origin player of the series, saying "we don't do it for the Dally Ms." Except they very much do.https://t.co/sL9uXYBCxr
— Adam Mobbs (@AdamMobbs) July 12, 2018
Last year's Dally M Medal count. Round by round, including judges. pic.twitter.com/LObMyYxuDz
— Adam Mobbs (@AdamMobbs) July 12, 2018
What a load of rubbish from @nrl.
If Billy Slater legitimately won the Wally Lewis medal, that’s fine. But, SHOW THE VOTES!!
Otherwise it looks like there’s something to hide.
Why hide from transparency? https://t.co/2cFIsFMQx4
— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) July 12, 2018
So just release the votes then. Who scored what in game 1, 2 & 3? Fairly simple. Just should be a transparent process. I can’t get Slater as man of the series with the maths considering he scored a 0 for the first game.
— Phil Jamieson (@philjamieson) July 12, 2018
Have they released the Wally Lewis medal votes yet? Laurie Daley said on @NRLNationRadio last night… that its 4-2-3-1 voting system in every game – then add them up. Can’t the @NRL just publish the votes?
— Brenton Speed (@BrentonSpeed) July 12, 2018
It’s a bizarre decision that, on the surface, makes absolutely no sense to anyone. It’s a shame the NRL is desperate to avoid transparency on the matter – as that’s the only way it would be cleared up. Right or wrong it gives the impression they’re hiding something. https://t.co/WOAGXwUuSx
— Joe Barton (@joebarto) July 12, 2018
Told that full voting details were released by the AFL on grand final day when the Norm Smith medal is awarded, Greenberg said: “That’s their sport; our sport, we don’t do that, we haven’t done it previously and we don’t intend to do it today.”
NSW coach Brad Fittler suggested Slater may have received the medal in recognition of his achievements in an Origin career dating back 15 years.
“I can live with him taking away a medal but it was more than for this series,” Fittler said.
Asked who he thought deserved it, Fittler said: “Tom Trbojevic was pretty outstanding I thought across the three games. He was my pick.”