Graham Annesley defends Dally M process after bizarre vote


NRL head of football Graham Annesley has defended the league’s decision to keep the identity of Dally M voters anonymous after some of the round one decisions were widely ridiculed.

At the centre of frustrations was the vote given to Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow after his poor showing in his side’s heavy loss to the Cowboys, in which he was directly responsible for a Heilum Luki try when he inexplicably kicked a loose ball into the edge forward.

The Maroons star also fell for a dummy for North Queensland’s first try and was guilty of letting several kicks bounce, but he wasn’t the only player to receive a shock vote with Adam Reynolds polling instead of Roosters centre Joseph Manu who was outstanding in Las Vegas.

The NRL changed the Dally M voting system last year with two judges awarding votes, with a player eligible for a maximum six points per game.

But unlike the past where fans knew who dished out the votes, the NRL has decided to keep it a secret to protect former players from heavy scrutiny online.

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“It’s not an area that I’m responsible for, but the Dally M (awards) are chosen by former players of high regard,” Annesley said, with a number of decisions panned on social media.

“It’s a season-long competition, so people will agree or disagree (with the votes). It happens publicly for the first half of the year and then it goes behind closed doors.

“That’s been the process for recent seasons, and it’s the process again.

“It’s a matter of opinion.

“They are all high-profile former players, and it shouldn’t matter who they are.

“They’ve got a job to select players who are their peers because they’ve done exactly what these players have done.

“Across the course of the season, the players will be judged by many of these judges, and it’s not like we’ve got these judges doing the same teams every week.

“It’s about the credibility and the integrity of the process, so it shouldn’t matter who is doing the selections as long as they’re people who are qualified to do it.”

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Addressing the much talked about penalty try awarded to North Queensland in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, Annesley said he would have been comfortable if it had of been downgraded to a penalty and possibly a sin bin.

Cowboys centre Zac Laybutt was pushed off the ball by Jack Bostock, with the Bunker ruling he would have scored a try in their opinion.

It had no influence on the result, but it was a very harsh call on the Dolphins who received a decision in their favour later in the game when Kyle Feldt was denied a try that Annesley would have awarded.

“I can understand why that decision was reached … he is certainly within some reaching range,” he said, refusing to call it a “howler”.

“But my personal view is the ball kicking sideways probably makes it difficult at the pace he was running to get to the ball.”



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