The NRL has revised the voting process and structure of the Dally M Awards, which represent the major individual honours handed out in the Telstra Premiership.
The Albert Goldthorpe Medal, which was instituted for the Betfred Super League in 2008, are based broadly on the Dally M model.
The NRL has worked with its media partners the Daily Telegraph, which originated the Dally M awards, and Fox Sports to provide what it hopes will be greater integrity and transparency to the voting process.
The changes will see a new panel of Peter Sterling, Darren Lockyer, Greg Alexander, Ben Ikin, Kevin Walters, Mark Gasnier, Andrew Johns, Ryan Girdler, Petero Civoniceva and Steve Menzies voting after each Premiership match. All Dally M judges will be former players.
Additional changes will see a specifically developed app being used to accumulate votes, the total number of matches for each judge being capped and consecutive voting on one team being restricted.
The judges will be given access to live statistical data across all Premiership matches.
The Daily Telegraph will continue to partner the NRL in the delivery of the awards, which will be screened live on Fox Sports.
The public release of votes will run until the end of round 14, while the votes will be counted by accounting firm Ernst and Young ahead of the release at the awards ceremony in Grand Final Week.
“The Dally M represents the pinnacle achievement for players in a given season and we believe these changes make the award even more special for our players and our supporters,” said the NRL’s Head of Football Brian Canavan.
“The voting system is clearer and more transparent, while the formalisation of a judging panel which includes some of the most prominent minds in the game will give the awards additional credibility.”
A comprehensive rules document for the awards, ensuring more stringent guidelines, has been created.
Some of the key additions include that players are eligible to receive points for the Dally M Player of the Year in NRL Telstra Premiership matches only (each player’s best 21 point-receiving matches will be taken into account, allowing for the stand down rounds during the Origin period).
Team of the Year votes will be submitted in conjunction with Player of the Year votes and the leading positional players in the Top 10 of the Dally M Medal Count will automatically receive their respective positional award).
The Rookie of the Year, Captain of the Year and Coach of the Year awards will be voted on a 3-2-1 basis by the judging panel at the completion of the Premiership rounds.
The rules were finalised by an independent Award and Recognition Committee, which will oversee the implementation of the new changes and will be chaired by Brian Canavan.
The new voting process will exclude media partners as well as the NRL from knowledge of votes until a point determined by NRL for event delivery purposes.