Simple revamp can fix big Dally M problem
There is no I in team but there is in improvement - and the Dally M Awards night could do with some. Namely, an overhaul of how the Dally M team of the year is chosen.
The team of the year has for years thrown up some weird positional winners - think Jason Taumalolo missing out for lock of the year in 2017 to Paul Gallen, when he was the best player in the world - and it did so again last night.
Maika Sivo was the best winger of the 2019 NRL season - at the very least top two - and deserved to have his super season formally recognised.
Yet owing to the way in which the Dally M Team of the Year voting is conducted (more on that here, but - spoiler alert - it's needlessly complicated) the Parramatta player wasn't even a nominee for the position he dominated from start to finish.
This needs to change.
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Before the Ken Maumalo fans come calling, the giant Warriors winger had a super season and deserved selection ... as well.
That would be solved if the team of the year was arranged to be an actual team consisting of 13 players: so two wingers, two centres, and two second-rowers (and scrap the interchange player of the year.)
It should be chosen separately to the Dally M Medal voting, with a panel of experts meeting to select the team at the conclusion of the regular season.
Better yet, just like the AFL does with its All-Australian side, the NRL could make a separate award night for its team of the year.
Make it straight after the season concludes, when fans of all 16 clubs are all still engaged and memories of the full campaign are at their freshest.
The NRL gets more positive publicity with another awards night celebrating the best players of the season.
Of course, there would still be conjecture among fans and experts - there will never be a time everyone will agree on everything.
But there would at least be clear air to debate who should have been there and who could have missed out, and it looks like a proper rugby league team.
Then the Dally M Medal gets its own night to celebrate the best individual player of the season.
For an example, here's how the 2019 NRL Team of the Year could look:
1. James Tedesco
2. Maika Sivo
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Jarrod Croker
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Cameron Munster
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Josh Papalii
9. Cameron Smith
10. Payne Haas
11. John Bateman
12. Kenny Bromwich
13. Jason Taumalolo