'Truly mystified': Fans erupt over Dally M 'robbery'

Seen here, Dally M medal winner Jack Wighton and runner-up Clint Gutherson.
Many fans insist Dally M runner-up Clint Gutherson was 'robbed' in voting. Pic: Getty

The dust has barely settled on a controversial 2020 Dally M awards night, with Canberra's Jack Wighton a deserved winner of the prestigious gong after a standout season for the Raiders.

However, many fans are claiming "robbery" at the NRL’s night of nights, insisting that either Wighton shouldn't have won the award or should at least have shared it with another man.

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Wighton (26 votes) took home the Dally M after a dramatic final-round shootout with Clint Gutherson (25) and Nathan Cleary (24), edging the former by a point and the latter by two points in voting.

However, it was Parramatta Eels fullback Gutherson how fans claim was the hardest done by, after his final-round heroics against the Wests Tigers went unrewarded.

Gutherson was instrumental to the four-point win that saw the Eels seal a top-four finish, but he was completely overlooked when it came to the Dally M judging.

The 26-year-old didn't pick up a single point despite a stat sheet that included two try assists, a linebreak assist, two tackle busts and a try-saving tackle on Luke Garner in the dying stages that preserved Parramatta's win.

As this year's Dally M transpired, one point is all it would have taken for Gutherson to be sharing the game's highest individual honour with Wighton.

Instead, Eels teammates Nathan Brown (3) and Junior Paulo (2) got the votes for Parramatta, while Tigers halfback Luke Brooks took the final point in a losing side.

Fans were suitably outraged by the apparent final round snub, insisting that Gutherson at the very least deserved one vote - if not more.

Awards night marred by embarrassing leak

The result of the awards night was marred for the public with the winner mistakenly published by a media outlet hours before Wighton was crowned Dally M medallist.

Players' phones were confiscated during the virtual ceremony so it was not spoiled for the contenders and Wighton said he was genuinely shocked to receive the award.

"I'm absolutely shocked, the players I was sitting there with and it could have been anyone, so to receive this medal tonight in front of so many good players, I'm blown away," he said.

"I wrote myself off completely, I really can't believe it, it just feels amazing.

"As a kid I would never have thought I would be talking about something like this. I'm so thankful.

"This is right up there, this is definitely up the top and it's something I'll never forget. I can't really get my head around it yet."

Pictured here, Dally M winner Jack Wighton and the leaked story that dropped hours before his award win.
Jack Wighton's name was leaked as the Dally M winner hours before it was made official. Pic: Twitter/Getty

Grand finalists Penrith took home a slew of awards after their remarkable run to the season decider against the Storm.

Mastermind of 17-straight wins, Ivan Cleary was named coach of the year, while halfback Nathan Cleary, prop James Fisher-Harris, second-rower Viliame Kikau, lock Isaah Yeo and centre Stephen Crichton were all picked in the team of the year.

Warriors star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was named captain of the year, while his team was also given the Provan Summons Medal for spirit of the year.

Brisbane star Ali Brigginshaw earned her first Dally M as female player of the year heading into Sunday's grand final against the Sydney Roosters, while Wests Tigers hooker Harry Grant was named rookie of the year.

with AAP

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