live leaderboard; live blog; Favorites, team of the year, when does the Dally M start? Contenders, Ben Hunt, Nicho Hynes, Isaah Yeo, Dylan Edwards, Cameron Munster, Team of the Year, Jeremiah Nanai

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The 2022 Dally M Awards have begun and a first-time winner is on the horizon to claim the highest gong on Rugby League’s night of nights.

Dragons halfback Ben Hunt was at the top of the rankings when round 12 voting took place behind closed doors, but Sharks No. 7 now leads after 19 rounds.

Hynes is just ahead of Hunt (25) and Roosters full-back James Tedesco (21) on 26 points, while Panthers duo Nathan Cleary and Dylan Edwards have 20 points.

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LIVE LEADERBOARD (AFTER 19 ROUNDS)

Nico Hynes 26

ben hunt 25

Jakob Tedesco 21

Nathan Clear 20

Dylan Edwards 20

Daly Cherry Evans 19

Adam Reynolds 18

Isaiah Yeo 18

Mitchell Moses 18

Matt Burton16

Cowboys Young Gun Jeremiah Nanai has won Rookie of the Year after the 19-year-old scored 17 tries in an incredible campaign.

Hynes won the Provan Summons award for his role, which spotlighted mental health following the death of Paul Green.

Panthers skipper Isaah Yeo has picked up the Captain of the Year award after leading his side to the minor premiership and grand finals on Sunday.

Todd Payten was named Coach of the Year after North Queensland climbed the ladder to finish third and were at home in a provisional final.

The Dally M Medal is a 3-2-1 regular-season voting system in which players vote for each game at the discretion of an independent judge—usually a former player.

Players are still eligible if they are only banned for one game, but will lose three points less. Multiple suspensions or bans of several weeks exclude a player from the competition.

The reigning Dally M medal winner is Manly full-back Tom Trbojevic and this year’s awards ceremonies will be held at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, starting at 19:30 in the Fox League 502.

ISAAH YEO THE LEADER OF MEN

Panthers skipper Isaah Yeo has picked up the Captain of the Year award after leading his side to the minor premiership and grand finals on Sunday.

“I’m doing this job tonight with someone who isn’t him and I can only assume that’s because he’s been suspended for a couple of games,” Yeo said.

“I’m co-captain with Nathan and that’s both his award and mine.

“There are some fantastic leaders in the NRL right now and to receive this award I’m super excited.

“We captain a great team which makes our job so easy, we never really have to talk about anything, they hold each other so accountable which makes our job so easy.

“Ivan, he trusts us so much. What he instills in us and the belief he shows, not just in me and Nathan, but in the whole team and especially the leadership group.

“Obviously I know this is more of a team award, but I have a very nice partner over there who is very supportive and helps me through everything.”

COWBOYS TEEN WINS ROMAN OF THE YEAR

Cowboys young gun Jeremiah Nanai has won Rookie of the Year after the 19-year-old scored 17 tries in an incredible 2022 campaign.

Nanai played a pivotal role in North Queensland as he climbed the ladder and was at home in a provisional final.

He also played in all three games of Origin for the Maroons in a famous streak win over the Blues.

“I just want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way,” said Nanai.

“I would also like to thank Toddy and the staff for a wonderful year, it’s been great.

“I want to thank the guys for a nice year, we didn’t win last week (in the pre-finals but I really enjoyed it.”

RED CARPET CHAT

Panthers skipper Isaah Yeo downplayed his chances of winning the top honor while speaking with Fox League on the red carpet.

“You know those horses that jump out at the top and then die very late, I think that will be the case,” Yeo said.

“I actually think Dylan Edwards. Nicho Hynes and Ben Hunt were talked about but Dylan was just six points down and would have called off in every game except the ones we lost.”

The NRL360 panel also believes Panthers full-back Dylan Edwards could take it out.

“You can usually remember two or three names for Dally M night, but this year is the most open in many, many years,” said Phil Rothfield of the Daily Telegraph.

“Dylan Edward, I loved what he did this season. The fact that he was such a clear winner of the Panthers Player of the Year poll gives me confidence that he could pull off the double.

Dally M favorite Ben Hunt from the Dragons and his wife Bridget.Source: Getty Images

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FLETCH AND HINDY TROLL MUNSTER

Cameron Munster couldn’t get away from Fletch and Hindy on the red carpet and they wasted no time tobogganing the Storm Star.

The trio discussed his suit as Munster, who can negotiate with opposing clubs for 2024 on November 1, said he wouldn’t mind being seen in orange and white.

“We’re not far from the Tigers, it’s about 4 km. Is that right – $8 million over four years?” Fletcher said.

“That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

Munster tipped Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary to boot the winner in Sunday’s grand final and also announced his seasonal drinking ban has ended.

“I had a few beers at the Player of the Year awards in Melbourne last night. I was lucky enough to win, so I celebrated a bit,” Munster said.

“But I will most likely (not drink) again during the season.”

ALEX JOHNSTON MAKES THREE IN A ROW

Rabbitoh’s try machine Alex Johnston has won the Ken Irvine Medal and is the NRL’s leading try scorer at 28 in the regular season.

It makes it three straight for Johnston, who joked about where he would place that medal.

“I don’t know what to do with that … doorstop maybe,” Johnston said on the Fox League.

“Just kidding. It’s a great honor and I love scoring tries.”

PANTHER GREAT SMOKE OVER 2003 AWARD

Panthers Premiership hero Craig Gower has vented his frustration at the NRL’s failure to retroactively award him the 2003 Dally M medal.

Gower was the favorite to pull out the top gong but chose to boycott the awards as part of a RLPA bid to improve wages and conditions.

Gower revealed he had spoken to Graham Annesley, head of NRL’s elite football competitions, but was told they could not confirm Gower had won the medal.

“I think it’s really dead and buried,” Gower told SEN radio.

“From their point of view, they can’t tell if I definitely won, which really is a lot of shit.

“Sometimes those in power have their choices they want to make. I don’t know how they get their information.

“As far as I know, I won, but I can’t change that. At the time I thought I had done the right thing.

“It gave players access, which is good. We have more say, and that’s what we’ve been about.

“At the end of the day I’ll get a big final win over a Dally M, but it’s certainly a nice honor.”

AWARD WINNERS

Rookie of the Year: Jeremiah Nanai (Cowboys)

Provan Summoning Prize: Nicho Hynes (Sharks)

Captain of the Year: Isaah Yeo (Panthers)

Coach of the Year:

Read on for all the action from the first night of the 2022 Dally M Awards.

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