09 September 2009
See the photos from the night
HE has been called the best player in the world and last night Jarryd Hayne lived up to that reputation when he was crowned the Dally M Player of the Year.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presented the Parramatta fullback with his medal in a glittering ceremony at Sydney’s State Theatre after Hayne, who was also named fullback of the year, produced a whirlwind finish to the season.
In doing so he denied North Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston a third best player award and a first for St George Illawarra five-eighth Jamie Soward.
Hayne wasn’t the only big winner on the night as the Bulldogs won a swag of awards, including coach of the year (Kevin Moore), rookie (Jamal Idris), centre (Josh Morris), lock (David Stagg), prop (Ben Hannant), hooker (Michael Ennis), captain (Andrew Ryan) and top pointscorer (Hazem El Masri).
Hayne’s triumph is staggering when you consider his sluggish start to the season in polling votes following failed experiments at both five-eighth and centre.
However, following his move to fullback against North Queensland in May, his season began to turn around and he was a standout for NSW in the State of Origin series.
The Eels No1, who is off contract at the end of next season, saved his best form for the end of the year as the club resurrected its season with a seven-match winning streak.
Hayne picked up three points for every game from round 19 to 24 – against Melbourne, Bulldogs, Cronulla, Newcastle, the Warriors and Wests Tigers.
He clinched the result after polling a single vote in round 25 against Penrith to give him an unassailable lead over Thurston and Soward.
The medal will be a timely mental boost for the Eels who face the Dragons in a qualifying final that they must win to stay alive at Kogarah Oval on Sunday.
The Dragons brought the Eels’ seven-match winning streak to a shuddering halt last Friday night at Kogarah when they crushed them 37-0.
While Hayne’s medal represented a well-deserved individual honour, the Bulldogs’ collection of awards mirrored the hard work the club has put in this season.
Under Moore, the Bulldogs have transformed themselves from wooden spooners last year to a genuine premiership contender in 2009.
Their campaign received a potentially fatal blow when halfback Brett Kimmorley was ruled out of action for four weeks after fracturing his cheekbone in round 25.
Wests Tigers Taniela Tuiaki was named winger of the year, Soward five-eighth, Thurston halfback while Greg Inglis, the Wally Lewis Medal winner from the Origin series this winter, was named representative player of the year.
The Peter Frilingos Memorial Award for the Dally M Headline Moment of the Year went to South Sydney’s Nathan Merritt, whose first field goal sailed over 40 metres to clinch a last-minute victory against the Wests Tigers at the SCG in round 10.
Article from: The Australian