Sport Manly star Tom Trbojevic claims Dally M Medal
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Manly star Tom Trbojevic claims Dally M Medal

Manly star Tom Trbojevic has won the Dally M Medal as the NRL's best player for the 2021 season. Photo: AAP
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Tom Trbojevic’s stellar 2021 NRL season has been rewarded with the Manly star claiming his maiden Dally M medal.

At a gala awards night in Brisbane on Monday night, Trbojevic claimed his first major gong ahead of Penrith’s Nathan Cleary and South Sydney five-eighth Cody Walker.

The Manly No.1 topped the poll despite playing just 15 of a possible 24 games this year.

That’s the least number of games in a campaign of any Dally M or Rothmans Medal winner in the past 50 years, eclipsing Steve Morris’s 16 of a possible 22 in his rookie 1979 campaign with St George.

Trbojevic went into Monday’s awards one vote behind Cleary on counting revealed up to the final six rounds.

A barnstorming finish to the season, featuring 11 tries including three hat-tricks from the Sea Eagles’ last five games was enough for Trbojevic to overhaul Cleary and become the third Manly player alongside Cliff Lyons (1990, 1994) and Matt Orford (2008) to win the gong.

Johnathan Thurston’s record tally of 36 points came from 22 games in 2007.

In other awards, Melbourne’s Craig Bellamy won coach of the year with Sydney Roosters captain James Tedesco named captain of the year

Tedesco’s teenaged Roosters teammate Sam Walker won the rookie of the year prize.

-AAP