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 2014 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Cowboys win, Johnathan Thurston will generally feature in the points.
- 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.
- 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 = It is amazing to think that GI is yet to win this award, but perhaps his body has let him down. He seems to suffer an injury when it matters most. Also, he can go “missing” for certain parts of the season and while he is one of the best in the game, it is hard to expect him to be performing every week. Still, he is a great chance.
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. Be careful though, it is hard for these players to continually “share” the points with one another and ultimately, they may steal the award away from one another.
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. If the Cowboys win, he probably always polls at least a point.
Daly Cherry-Evans = DCE is a leader at Manly and will have his fingerprints all over the Sea Eagles in their victories. When the Sea Eagles win, he will be assisting tries, kicking goals (apart from Jamie Lyon) and creating territory with his attacking kicks. He is seriously shaping as the best halfback in the game that is well complimented with his defence.
Kurt Gidley = Gidley had a disrupted 2013 through injury and now that Jarrod Mullen will be missing, more responsibility will fall upon his shoulders. If this award was given on effort, he would be close to winning. His chances will depend heavily on the consistency on the Knights, which will only become apparent a month or two into the season.
Shaun Johnson = Johnson demonstrated just what he was capable of during the Auckland 9’s. He is dynamic and can score just as many individual tries as he sets up team ones. Like a few others, his performance in this area will be effected by the form of his team, but if they deliver, expect the noise around Johnson to grow louder and louder.
James Maloney = Maloney was crucial to the success of the Roosters in 2013 and his role wil not change as they attempt to defend their title. He is great with the ball and should have a hand in majority of the scoring opportunities for the Roosters.
The Dark Horses
Issac Luke = When the Rabbitohs play well, he generally plays (and polls) well. He is crucial to the forward pack gaining momentum early on in games. 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.
Jake Friend = He is one player who has had avoided favoritism due to his position in the team. Generally, you would expect other players within the team to poll ahead of this classy hooker. Although people are beginning to take notice (if they haven’t already) of the contribution Friend offers to this team. He is a hard worker and you can expect him to obtain plenty of minutes in crucial games.
Sam Tompkins = A new recruit to the competition but make no mistake about it, this guy can play! You only have to look as far as the price tag that the Warriors paid to get this man to their club. He will compliment Johnson strongly in this team and his contribution is going to be vital to the success of the Warriors.
Jake Friend @ $67 = the Roosters are strong favorites to take out successive competitions and if they do, Friend will be heavily involved. He is a strong contributor to this team on attack and defence and you can expect him to receive plenty of minutes. He is also the best value in the field and it is ridiculous to view the odds that are offered on him.