NZ Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has ceded ground to Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary in the race for the Dally M Medal, after his side's 38-32 NRL loss to Manly Sea Eagles.
Entering round nine, Tuivasa-Sheck and Cleary were level atop the leaderboard with 13 points apiece. Points are assigned on a three-two-one basis at the end of each match.
Despite the Warriors defeat, Tuivasa-Sheck did enough to earn two votes, running 209 metres, throwing two offloads and making two tackles. Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic took the three votes from his side's win, scoring twice and providing four try assists.
Meanwhile, Cleary was instrumental in Penrith's 48-0 victory over Cronulla Sharks, assisting one try, as well as landing eight conversions from eight attempts. That performance saw Cleary take the full quota of votes and move into the outright lead.
Cleary now has 16 points, while Tuivasa-Sheck sits second with 15.
Kiwis prop James Fisher-Harris sits fourth on the standings with 12 points, but South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell - third on 13 points - is ineligible for the award, after suspension.
Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen also has nine points.
The Warriors fullback won the 2018 Dally M Medal for the NRL's best player in 2018 and has also picked up awards for the game's best winger in 2013, and fullback in 2015 and 2018.
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