NRL fans have been left confused following the news James Tedesco has been nominated for the Dally M fullback of the year with Reece Walsh ruled out and a number of players absent from the list. The NRL announced the shortlist ahead of Wednesday's ceremony, with the reigning premiers the Panthers dominating the selections.
Nine Penrith players are in contention for roles in the team of the year, with five-eighth and hooker the only positions for which they don't have a contender. Ivan Cleary is once again in the reckoning to be named best coach, while Isaah Yeo is in the frame for captain and lock of the year.
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However, the biggest confusion surrounds the fullback role. Walsh made himself ineligible for the award because of his three-game suspension earlier this year. While this left some fans confused, others felt the nomination of Roosters fullback Tedesco was more baffling.
Tedesco has not enjoyed his best season with the Roosters and after State of Origin Game I, Blues fans were discussing the captain's position in the team. While the Roosters made the NRL semi-final, they only just made the top eight and were far from impressive all year.
In 2023, judges voted on the best player in each position at regular intervals throughout the year. A final vote was then conducted at the end of the regular season. There is little doubt Tedesco will go down as a great of the modern game, but many NRL fans pointed out that Tedesco only found form towards the very end of the season.
To add to the drama, a glaring absentee on the list was Warriors fullback Charnze Nikoll-Klokstad. Many couldn't work out why the fullback was excluded from the shortlist. While Dylan Edwards could overtake Tedesco and be recognised as the game's leading fullback in the Dally M voting system, the NRL world was less than satisfied with the nominees.
A bit of discussion about the Dally M positional nominees.
The nominees are not determined by Dally M points. Points only come into it if a nominee is in the top 3 of overall voting.
So yes, it's fair to question whether Tedesco should be there. pic.twitter.com/arbn2LDdq6
— Ryan Nixon (@NewYorkNixon) September 24, 2023
He probably polled highly in games Roosters won because there weren’t a lot of other players taking votes off him.
Compare that to CNK for example, he would’ve lost votes to Johnson, Egan, Harris, Fonua-Blake and DWZ
— Lachlan Jeffery (@LachlanJeffery) September 23, 2023
I actually thought Teddy was actively bad for a number of games this year (even ones that Roosters won)
Shocked he’s there over say Gutho
— Nat Hanrahan (@nat_sinclair93) September 23, 2023
Tedesco? I know he was chosen to the the poster boy but this is ridiculous
— 𝒥𝒥 (@AcousticAri) September 24, 2023
— Kahaoro (@sportsfluffer) September 24, 2023
— Rugby League News (@RugbyLeagueNews) September 24, 2023
Fans were also left confused to why Walsh was out of the contention, following a suspension for three games when he swore in the direction of a referee in a Broncos home game. Walsh would have been some fans' favourite to win the Dally M award after his sensational season with the Broncos.
Walsh has continued his form throughout the NRL finals having just put on one of his best displays this year to help the Broncos defeat the Warriors 42-12. He was recently voted by NRL players as the best fullback of the year.
— John Dean (@JohnDean_) September 24, 2023
Shaun Johnson favourite for Dally M award
While Nathan Cleary has helped guide his team to another grand final, which could see the Panthers become the first team in 50 years to win the title three years in a row, Shaun Johnson remains favourite to win the award.
Johnson has spearheaded the Warriors revival under rookie coach Andrew Webster, who will attempt to see off Cleary and Kevin Walters to be named the game's best coach.
Winger Jamayne Isaako is the only nominee from 2023 newcomers the Dolphins and is up against a strong field that includes Brian To'o, Selwyn Cobbo, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Dominic Young for a berth.
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