29 September 2022
as seen on stuff.co.nz
Sydney Roosters halfback Raecene McGregor has been crowned the 2022 NRLW Dally M Medal winner following a dominant season for the Tricolours.
McGregor finished ahead of Knight Tamika Upton and Bronco Tarryn Aiken with Roosters teammates Sam Bremner and Isabelle Kelly rounding out the top five.
Kiwis duo Joseph Manu and Joseph Tapine have both been named in the Dally M Team of the Year at NRL’s annual awards.
Roosters centre Manu and Raiders second-rower Tapine were rewarded for their strong individual form this season as Cronulla halfback Nicho Hynes claimed a record points haul to take out the NRL’s top gong in dominant fashion.
Hynes on Wednesday night became the clear star of rugby league’s night of nights, with the Cronulla halfback finishing on a record 38 points.
Three points behind Ben Hunt at the halfway mark of the season, the Sharks star stormed home to beat out James Tedesco by five points while Hunt finished third.
In doing so, he joined the likes of Johnathan Thurston as just the fifth player in history to claim the award in his first season at a new club.
“I can hand on heart say I came here not expecting anything at all.
“I can’t believe it. It’s bloody crazy. I am pinching myself.
“To have this around my neck. I frothed Johnathan Thurston growing up, Andrew Johns.
“And now I am alongside them. It’s unbelievable.”
Todd Payten claimed the major men’s coaching gong, while his second-rower, New Zealand-born Jeremiah Nanai, was the rookie of the year after scoring 17 tries for North Queensland.
Penrith’s Isaah Yeo was named captain of the year, headlining three Panthers in the NRL’s Dally M team of the year.
Hynes was also awarded the Provan Summons spirit of NRL award for his work in raising awareness for mental health following his post-match interview after Paul Green’s death.
But it is the top gong he will remember most, given it was his first season as a full-time starter after spending years in the rugby league wilderness before being given a chance at Melbourne.
Named as Ryan Papenhuyzen’s replacement last year when the Storm fullback went down with injury, Hynes was an instant star in the NRL.
A playmaker as a junior, Craig Fitzgibbon placed his faith in the 26-year-old as one of his first signings to lead the Sharks into the next era as No 7.
He was instantly rewarded with Hynes setting up 26 tries in a stellar season and becoming the first Shark to win the award since Preston Campbell in 2001.
And he did it all with his mother as his date for the night, admitting she had almost brought him to tears.
“I almost had a little tear come down [during my speech]. We have been through a hell of a lot,” he said.
“Everything I do is for her, and obviously my dad too … But mum has had a tougher life.
“To bring her with me and see her smile.
“I saw her [getting emotional], but I couldn’t keep looking otherwise I would have got too emotional.”
AT A GLANCE
Dally M honour role:
Player of the year: Nicho Hynes
Rookie: Jeremiah Nanai
Captain: Isaah Yeo
Team of the year: James Tedesco, Joseph Sua’ali’i, Joseph Manu, Valentine Holmes, Alex Johnston, Cameron Munster, Nicho Hynes, Joseph Tapine, Api Koroisau, Payne Haas, Viliame Kikau, Jeremiah Nanai, Isaah Yeo. Coach: Todd Payten
Player of the year: Raecene McGregor
Rookie: Jesse Southwell
Captain: Isabelle Kelly
NRLW team of the year: Sam Bremner, Teagan Berry, Isabeele Kelly, Jessica Sergis, Jaime Champan, Tarryn Aiken, Raecene McGregor, Caitlan Johnston, Keeley Davis, Millie Boyle, Keilee Joseph, Olivia Kernick, Simaima Taufa. Coach: John Strange