AN emotional Johnathon Thurston has collected his fourth Dally M Player of the Year medal on Monday night.
Thurston was always deemed the favourite in the lead up to the award ceremony.
Thurston gained 32 votes after 26 rounds, well ahead of the three-way tie for second between Benji Marshall, Aaron Woods and Michael Ennis, who earned 21 votes each.
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Broncos halfback Ben Hunt rounded out the top five with 18 votes.
The 32-year-old wasn’t in Sydney to receive the award, but struggled to hold back tears when he credited his family for his success at a function at Townsville’s Jupiter’s Casino.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” Thurston said via video link.
“I can’t say what this means to me (to win this) in front of family and friends.”
“They see firsthand what you go through, the roller-coaster, what you put your body through mentally and physically,” he said.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be standing here.”
Cronulla star Jack Bird took out Dally M Rookie of the year award after what has been a stellar season for the 20-year-old.
Bird was key in the Sharks’ top eight finish this year and beat Manly’s Tom Trbojevic, Melbourne’s Cameron Munster and Warrior Tuimoala Lolohea to take out the award.
Brisbane Bronco legend Wayne Bennett was named NRL coach of the year.