NRL has a new No.1 halfback
DALY Cherry-Evans, once the most maligned player in the NRL, is now the game's premier halfback.
And it's not even close.
Newscorp journalist Phil 'Buzz' Rothfield this week revealed his Dally M form guide with every position in this year's annual awards appearing nearly impossible to pick.Newscorp
But the fans haven't had any such issues finding the cream of the crop, making the Manly No.7 the most clear-cut winner of an exclusive poll.
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Fans voted Cherry-Evans their pick for the Dally M halfback of the year award.
The Manly and Queensland captain attracted 62 per cent of the vote, beating Newcastle's Mitchell Pearce and Parramatta's Mitchell Moses (both 15 per cent), with Adam Reynolds (third 8 per cent).
Cherry-Evans has led the Sea Eagles to fifth place on the NRL ladder, having returned in outstanding form after missing the first six weeks with a syndesmosis injury.
Pearce had an exceptional eight weeks but has dropped off in recent weeks, coinciding with Newcastle's five-match losing streak. Reynolds is Mr Consistent at the Rabbitohs and Moses has played some magnificent football for the Eels.
Manly have been the surprise success story of 2019 and Des Hasler was a clear choice as coach of the year for leading the Sea Eagles into fifth place on the ladder.
Hasler (55 per cent) beat Ricky Stuart (20 per cent), Craig Bellamy (16 per cent) and Brad Arthur (nine per cent), whose Eels have gone from wooden spooners to sixth in less than a year.
NEW KING OF ENGLAND
John Bateman has ended Sam Burgess's decade-long reign as the NRL's premier English player.
The Canberra star has been a revelation in his first season in Australia, culminating in the Raiders finally emerging as a genuine premiership threat.
In an exclusive poll, Bateman was a resounding winner as the fans' choice for Dally M second-rower of the year.
Bateman 61 per cent of the second-rower vote, ahead of Manly's Curtis Sironen (18 per cent), Wests Tiger Ryan Matterson (9 per cent) and Melbourne's Kenny Bromwich (eight per cent).
South Sydney talisman Burgess, who exploded on to the NRL scene in 2010, attracted just four per cent of the vote, despite helping the Rabbitohs to a top-four spot.
DALLY M DROP-OFF
Burgess isn't the only big name on whom fans have turned their backs.
Reigning Dally M medallist Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (four per cent) finished last in fullback-of-the-year voting behind runaway pick James Tedesco (72 per cent), Manly's Tom Trbojevic (14 per cent) and former Warrior turned Raider Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (8 per cent).
While 2016 Dally M medallist, North Queensland wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo (15 per cent) was third choice as lock of the year behind Manly's Jake Trbojevic (42 per cent) and South Sydney's Cameron Murray (32 per cent).
Tuivasa-Sheck and Taumalolo have been both been victims of their teams' poor form. Both the Warriors and Cowboys are set to miss the finals.
Jarrod Croker continues his push for inclusion in 'best player to never play Origin" debate.
Fans voted the Canberra Raiders captain their centre of the year ahead of Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell.
Croker's Raiders are flying high in second place on the NRL ladder and, despite a tough run home against the Roosters, Storm, Sea Eagles and Sharks, are looking at a top-four finish.
Three outstanding No.9 leading three of the top four teams, but it's South Sydney's Damien Cook who owns the mantle of the game's No.1 hooker.
Cook (42 per cent) has passed Cameron Smith (21 per cent) at the top, while Raiders rake Josh Hodgson (27 per cent) is third.