Canberra Raiders star Jack Wighton has won the prestigious Dally M Medal for the sport’s best and fairest player, but it didn’t come without controversy.
The winner of the NRL’s top gong was leaked online hours before the results were announced, in an article published by The Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper has since apologised and said it was the result of a “digital production error”, however ARL Chairman Peter V’Landys has confirmed an investigation will be launched.
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Wighton is now just the third Raider in the 42-year history of the award to win the Dally M Medal, and the first since Laurie Daley nabbed the gong in 1995.
Wighton secured 26 votes to pip Parramatta Eels fullback Clint Gutherson on 25 votes and initial favourite, Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary, who had 24 votes.
Multiple former Dally M winner Cameron Smith rounded out the top four with 22 points.
Meanwhile, Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary took out coach of year.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo praised everyone for their efforts in what has been a very challenging year.
“Tonight we honoured our most exceptional players in an extraordinary season,’’ Mr Abdo said.
“Despite unprecedented challenges our players took our game to a new level in 2020. Tonight we celebrated our very best, those who provided so much excitement and hope during a challenging time in our community.
“Congratulations to Jack on creating history, winning the Dally M Medal in such a tough and uncompromising season. His feats will forever be etched into rugby league folklore.”
— NRL (@NRL) October 19, 2020
The full list of winners is:
Dally M Male Player of the Year – Jack Wighton – Canberra Raiders
Dally M Female Player of the Year – Ali Brigginshaw – Brisbane Broncos
Prop – Josh Papalii – Canberra Raiders
Prop – James Fisher-Harris – Penrith Panthers
Second Row – Viliame Kikau – Penrith Panthers
Second Row – Tohu Harris – Warriors
Lock – Isaah Yeo – Penrith Panthers
Winger – David Nofoaluma – Wests Tigers
Winger – Josh Addo-Carr – Melbourne Storm
Centre – Stephen Crichton – Penrith Panthers
Centre – Kotoni Staggs – Brisbane Broncos
Five-Eighth – Jack Wighton – Canberra Raiders
Halfback – Nathan Cleary – Penrith Panthers
Hooker – Cameron Smith – Melbourne Storm
Fullback – Clint Gutherson – Parramatta Eels
Rookie of the Year – Harry Grant – Wests Tigers
Captain of the Year – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – Warriors
Coach of the Year – Ivan Cleary – Penrith Panthers
Top Points Scorer – Adam Reynolds – South Sydney Rabbitohs
Top Try Scorer (Ken Irvine Medal) – Alex Johnston – South Sydney Rabbitohs
Peter Frilingos Headline Moment: Project Apollo
Provan-Summons – Warriors
Try of the Year – Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos)
Tackle of the Year – Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
Telstra Moments of the Year – Josh Addo-Carr/Cody Ramsey
NRLW Rookie of the Year – Kennedy Cherrington (Sydney Roosters)
NRLW Try of the Year – Madison Bartlett (Warriors)
NRLW Tackle of the Year – Hannah Southwell (Sydney Roosters)