The Dally M is the most prestigious individual award within the competition. Some players who also agree that it is more coveted than the “Golden Boot”, which is given to the best player in the “world” (and includes the Super League). Regardless of what value a player places on it, they shouldn’t focus on it as rugby league is a team game. Very clichéd, but it is the truth. Players will rarely poll points in a game from a losing side and will almost never win the award from a team that finishes out of contention at the end of the season. So heading into the 2013 season, who are the players that are most likely to win this award? There is plenty of value to be had early on in the season with this exotic bet, so lets take a look at a few “chances”. But first, there are always a few rules that I recommend following when betting on this option.
1. Try not to bet too early. If you are, pick a player from a team that you believe will genuinely finish in the Top 5 of the competition at the conclusion of the regular season. Wait until the season starts to take some shape and then make your selection.
2. Look at the past winners of the award and you will see a pattern. For some reason, the real workers in this game are overlooked. I am talking about the front and second rowers. It seems to be the playmakers that win this award or the electric try scorers.
3. Look at a team and then narrow your selection down to a few players. You see when the votes are polled each Monday/Tuesday in the paper, the “big name players” always rate highly (even when they haven’t had their best game). For example: if the Tigers win, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farrah will always feature in the points.
4. Remember that this is down to a matter of opinion. You may think that a player performs extremely well, but another person may not. Try to follow who certain people are officially selecting each week and see if your opinions correlate with theirs.
5. Ride the wave of success! This is probably the most important point. If a team is doing well and dominating the competition, you can expect one of their players to do extremely well.
Greg Inglis = He is a “big” favorite and would have gone close to winning it in 2012, had he not knocked Dean Young into next Monday. Inglis getting better with each season and is in the prime of his career now.
Paul Gallen = If Gallen never wins this award, he can consider himself very unlucky. The best chance he will have will be when the Sharks are in contention for the title, and this will be in 2013. The only thing stopping him from winning it will be his body. One serious injury (and a few games missed) could be the end of his chances.
Billy Slater = Need I say anymore?
Cameron Smith = Need I say anymore?
Cooper Cronk = Need I say anymore? BUT he is the only one of the “Big 3” that is yet to win the award…
Jonathan Thurston = One of the best players in the game, say no more. The difference with JT though compared to the “Big 3” is that they have each other to contend with. JT has no real players standing out like he does on a consistent basis other than a few forwards and Matt Bowen. If the Cowboys win, he will always poll at least a point.
Ben Barba = Is the defending champion of this award and going by his trial form, he will be very hard to keep out of that spot. Of course, that was written well before the story of his troubles broke. Now he is stood down for an indefinite amount of time. Had to mention him and now it seems very unlikely that he will win the award.
Josh Reynolds = Reynolds job at the dogs now is more important without Barba. He came of age last year and will be looking to continue on that form. His level of aggression, and the work that he gets through in defence also boosts his chances.
Daly Cherry-Evans = DCE is a leader at Manly and will have his fingerprints all over the Sea Eagles in their victories. But the Sea Eagles will need to win games for DCE to be a chance. When they do, he will be assisting tries, kicking goals (apart from Jamie Lyon) and creating territory with his attacking kicks.
Jarryd Hayne = Hayne is expected to “come of age” under the guidance of Ricky Stuart. The reason that his name is on this list is because he is always a danger to opposition teams when he is in form. A lot of people will get caught up in his hype if they do, especially if he dominates the Eels play. But form is the key.
Kurt Gidley = Gidley is a long shot to win but will be a great influence on the Knights this season. He carries the same mantra as Gallen has on the Sharks. He is always consistent, yet his hopes rest on the Knights contending for the title.
Mitchell Pearce = Will Pearce finally “come of age” in 2013? It will be key to the Roosters chances that he does and with the roster that they have, they will be hard to stop. Expect him to poll well if they do because he will need to dominate their play.
The Dark Horses
James Maloney = Maloney’s 2013 will dramatically improve compared to 2012 and this is because of the players that he will be surrounded by. They will posses a lot of class and talent and he may just be the right man at the helm to lead them around the park.
Issac Luke = Luke was in contention for the 2012 honor before he suffered an injury. When the Rabbitohs play well, he generally plays (and polls) well. If they are to have the season that everyone is tipping for them, he will definitely be in the mix. This is of course factoring in that he remains free of injury and suspension.
Josh Dugan = Dugan will be leading everything from the back for the Raiders and people are expecting him to go to another level this season. The Raiders should be pressing for the title and he will be their main influence.
Tim Mannah = Mannah’s game is getting better each season and someone has to take over as the leader of the Eels, in Hindmarsh’s absence.
Sam Burgess = Burgess is the third possibility for the Rabbitohs and the least likely out of those mentioned. In saying that, he is by no means out of contention. This is also the third year that he has spent in this competition and he should be settled now. Another leader if the Rabbitohs want to take their game to the next level.
Matt Scott = It will be very difficult for the next two players to win this award considering JT is wearing the same jersey as them. But Scott will always poll well as a leader of the team. Consider that JT will need a good platform to work off and he is the man that will be leading it.
James Tamou = Same as above, but definitely a youngster that wants to assert his dominance over the opposition. Hopefully he can remain fit for the entire season.
I have followed Rugby League since I was young enough to watch it and growing up in Sydney, it was inevitable. I will always make it my business to watch all 8 NRL fixtures per week and follow it with more than just passion. During my playing career, I have played at several representative levels, with and against current players. I began writing previews on NRL games early on in 2012 and really found a passion within this. I enjoy listening to various people and their opinions on the game, and then forming my own. Coupled together with another passion, gambling, I soon learnt that there was a market out there for more than the rugby league diehards. Hopefully I can pass on my knowledge of the game to help you win some cash.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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Photo By Peter Byrnes [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons