NRL 2019: Roosters fullback James Tedesco wins Dally M Medal

Roosters fullback James Tedesco with the Dally M award.
Roosters fullback James Tedesco with the Dally M award. Photo credit: AAP

James Tedesco can lay claim to the best individual NRL season in more than a decade after he claimed his maiden Dally M Medal on Wednesday night. 

With Sunday's Grand Final still ahead of him, Tedesco charged home with 18 out of a possible 21 points in the final eight rounds to finish three clear of Cameron Smith. 

The haul took the Sydney Roosters fullback's overall tally to 34 points - the highest of any player since Johnathan Thurston's 36 in 2017. 

Tedesco led the count by three points headed into the final round, before he and Smith both polled one each in round 25 to ensure Tedesco's title. 

"Everyone was telling me I was a big chance of winning, and I was a bit nervous there at the end," Tedesco admitted. 

"I thought Cameron was going to get the three at the end there. He has played so good for so many years now. 

"I'm glad it's done now, I can just focus on Sunday."

The honour comes after the 26-year-old also claimed the Wally Lewis Medal for the player of the State of Origin series, scoring the match-winning try in the series decider for NSW. 

Tedesco topped the charts in the NRL for linebreaks (29), tackle busts (134) and average run metres (188). 

He also claimed a career-high 17 tries, as he helped take the Roosters to Sunday's decider against the Canberra Raiders. 

The Dally M team of the year, featuring Warriors winger Ken Maumalo.
The Dally M team of the year, featuring Warriors winger Ken Maumalo. Photo credit: Getty

His end-of-season streak after Origin is the most impressive, considering players often fall into a lull after the representative period. 

"When it came up mid-year, and I was still eight or so points behind, I didn't think I would score that well," Tedesco said. 

"Robbo [coach Trent Robinson] was pretty important in all that. He gave me two breaks, not playing in games through that Origin period. 

"That rest of getting away from footy (was crucial). Because Origin, the camps and games are so energy sapping." 

He will now also have the chance to become just the sixth player in history to win a Dally M and premiership in the same year if the Roosters win the Grand Final. 

In a glittering night for Tedesco at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, he was also the fullback of the year while the Origin-winning try was the Peter Frilingos headline moment of the season.

Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses finished third on 29 in the overall count, while Broncos rookie Payne Haas was fourth on 27 points. 

Haas was also named the NRL's rookie of the year, just months after the powerful forward made his Origin debut for NSW.

Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster and last year's winner, the Warriors' Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (22 points), finished equal fifth.

Tedesco's teammate Latrell Mitchell was the centre of the year, Moses was halfback and Smith both the hooker and captain of the year.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy won the coach's award, after his team took the minor premiership by six points before being bundled out of the finals in week three.

Meanwhile, St George Illawarra centre Jessica Sergis was the Dally M female player of the year, ahead of her team's NRLW grand final against Brisbane.


Player of the Year: James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)

Female Player of the Year: Jessica Sergis (St. George-Illawarra Dragons)

Fullback: James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)

Winger: Ken Maumalo (Warriors)

Centre: Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters)

Five-Eighth: Cameron Munster (Melbourne) Storm

Halfback: Mitchell Moses (Parramatta) 

Prop: Payne Haas (Brisbane)

Hooker: Cameron Smith (Melbourne) 

Second Row: John Bateman (Canberra) 

Lock: Cameron Murray (South Sydney) 

Interchange: Brandon Smith (Melbourne) 

Rookie of the Year: Payne Haas (Brisbane) 

Captain of the Year: Cameron Smith (Melbourne) 

Coach of the Year: Craig Bellamy (Melbourne) 

Peter Frilingos Headline Moment: James Tedesco (State of Origin III) 

Provan-Summons - Josh Jackson (Canterbury). 

Join us for live updates of the 2019 NRL Grand Final between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders on Sunday.