Tedesco eyes history after thrilling Dally M triumph

SYDNEY Roosters fullback James Tedesco claimed the prestigious Dally M Medal at a glittering event at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion on Wednesday night.

Dally M success adds to the Wally Lewis Medal and Brad Fittler Medal that Tedesco won for inspiring NSW to victory in this year's State of Origin series. Tedesco also holds the Jack Gibson Medal for the Roosters' best and fairest from last season.

And there could more personal glory with Tedesco a clear $4.50 favourite, according to the TAB, to take the Clive Churchill Medal for best player in the grand final. He has become one of the finest and most dominant fullbacks of his era.

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James Tedesco celebrates after winning the 2019 Dally M Medal. Picture: Brett Costello
James Tedesco celebrates after winning the 2019 Dally M Medal. Picture: Brett Costello

With the Dally M having now been won, Tedesco can focus solely on lifting his Roosters to back-to-back premierships in Sunday's grand final against Canberra.

The voting went down to a dramatic final round, but Tedesco held off a strong challenge from Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith to become the first Rooster since Todd Carney in 2010 to win the player of the year award. Tedesco polled 34 points to finish three clear of Smith, who did not attend the function due to illness.

Entering the final round, Tedesco was on 33 points with Smith on 30. Had Smith polled three points in Melbourne's match against North Queensland and Tedesco failed to register a point in the Roosters loss to Souths, they would have been joint winners.

Yet in a tense and captivating ­finish, both players secured one point each in round 25 with Tedesco holding his three-point advantage. He is just the third Roosters player to take the award after Carney and Gary Freeman (1992) since its ­inception in 1979.

"It's a huge honour to receive this award," Tedesco said in his acceptance speech.

"I want to think the Sydney Roosters, Nick (Politis, chairman) 'Robbo' (coach Trent Robinson) all the the players and staff.

"I wouldn't have had the year I've had without you guys. The way the whole team played definitely made me look good."

James Tedesco celebrates with his mother Rosemary after winning the Dally M Medal. Picture: Getty Images
James Tedesco celebrates with his mother Rosemary after winning the Dally M Medal. Picture: Getty Images

Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses (29) finished third ahead of Brisbane's rookie prop Payne Haas (27) with Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster and last year's Dally M Medal winner, New Zealand Warriors' Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, next on 22 points.

Tedesco also won the Peter ­'Chippy' Frilingos Headline Moment of the Year for his series-winning try inside the final 10 seconds during Origin III at ANZ Stadium in July.

Melbourne's Smith did enjoy some personal glory, being named hooker of the year and captain of the year.

DALLY M MEDAL FINAL LEADERBOARD

James Tedesco 34

Cameron Smith 31

Mitchell Moses 29

Payne Haas 27

Cameron Munster 22

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 22

Damien Cook 21

Cameron Murray 19

Jason Taumalolo 19

Mitchell Pearce 18

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 18

DALLY M 2019 WINNERS LIST

Female player of the year: Jessica Sergis

Coach of the year: Craig Bellamy

Rookie of the year: Payne Haas

Captain of the year: Cameron Smith

Provan-Summons: Josh Jackson