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Melbourne Storm star Cameron Munster has blasted the NRL's Dally M process after teammate Justin Olam was omitted from the 'Centre of the Year' awards.
Olam has enjoyed a remarkable season for the Storm with 12 tries, 85 tackle busts and averaging 112m with the ball in hand across 24 games.
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He's form as been so impressive it prompted arguably the greatest ever NRL player, Andrew Johns, to claim Olam was the best centre in the game for 2021.
But, teammate Munster appeared to raise alarm bells when he took to Instagram and slammed the NRL for omitting Olam as a contender for centre of the year.
“I’m not usually one for a rant, but pretty disappointed my PNG brother Justin Olam didn’t even get nominated for centre of the year!” Munster posted.
"He's easily a top three centre.
"Don't come at me. The system needs a change, NRL."
Former Storm captain and NRL legend Cameron Smith went one step further.
Smith labelled Olam the best centre this year and said he wouldn't be taking this decision lying down.
“You know what I’d be doing if I was Justin Olam?” Smith said on SEN Radio.
“I’d be telling the football manager Frank Ponissi to put a phone call through to the NRL and I’d be saying: ‘Am I going to be receiving anything? I want a heads-up now because I’m hopefully going to be preparing for a grand final’.
“If the answer is no, I’d just politely refuse to go. It’s crazy. How do you expect to be snubbed that way and expect to turn up?
“It’s a little bit embarrassing, it really is.
“If it has been an administration oversight, fair enough. But we need to be better than that. The Dally Ms are about the players, let’s get it right.”
NRL backflips over Justin Olam omission
According to reports, the NRL has backflipped on Olam's omission.
Courier Mail journalist Travis Meyn reported the NRL had backflipped and invited Olam to the ceremony due to "administrative oversight".
However, this didn't stop fans teeing off on the NRL for yet anther Dally M controversy.
Justin Olam had been best centre all year. He’s so humble giving credit to his teammates. https://t.co/Q723Y10QtR
— EMKAY (@molz1827) September 21, 2021
I still don’t understand how Justin Olam hasn’t been at least nominated for Dally M Centre of the Year.
Assuming top three will be Matt Burton, Dane Gagai and Joseph Manu.
Not taking away from Burton and Manu, but they played 7 and 8 games respectively in other positions.
— Jack Blyth (@jblesfooty224) September 21, 2021
#NRL The fact that Justin Olam has apparently not been nominated for best centre this year (when, let's face it, he's top 2-3 in the game) at the Dally M's tells you just how idiotic and nonsensical the system is.
— Ricardo Ascenso (@Ricky_A1) September 21, 2021
#NRL Regardless of which system is utilised to determine positional awards at the Dally M's, if Justin Olam isn't one of the centres in the team of the year then we'll be damned.
The man is elite. https://t.co/KGy2UGzqMB
— NRL News (@NRLNEWS) September 21, 2021
— Steve Macdonald (@SteveMacdonald_) September 22, 2021
Man. Even more than it actually being possible that Tom Trbojevic doesn't win #DallyM , the best centre in th #nrl , Justin Olam, not being in the running for best Centre shows how bad the DallyM system is.
— Max Delaney (@maxbdelaney) September 21, 2021
The Team of the Year is adjudicated similarly to the Dally M tally.
Votes are handed out in a 3-2-1 fashion after an NRL game, which will go towards the 'Player of the Year' Dally M award.
Those votes also go towards the team of the year tally, but each judge will also add one vote for each positional award.
This year, Tom Trbojevic's stunning end to the season could snatch him the Dally M Medal over Nathan Cleary after five players were left in the race for the NRL's most prestigious award.
NSW stars Cleary and Trbojevic led the votes on 24 and 23 respectively to round 19 with Daly Cherry-Evans, James Tedesco and Cody Walker rounding out the top of the polls.
Monday night's event was the first of two ceremonies, with the count for the final six rounds to resume and the winner announced next Monday night in Brisbane.
Penrith skipper Cleary topped the count, sitting on 21 points before voting went behind closed doors in round 12.
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