The NRL has released the list of players in line for Dally M honours, with several worthy candidates in contention at every position.
Headlining the short lists at each position are some of the game's superstars, including James Tedesco, Cameron Munster, Luke Keary, Cameron Smith, Jason Taumalolo, Josh Papalii, Latrell Mitchell and John Bateman.
Here are the players in contention for Dally M honours for 2019.
2019 Dally M award nominees
Fullback of the Year nominees
- James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
- Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Canberra Raiders)
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand Warriors)
- Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels)
- Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne Storm)
There's a good chance the 2019 Dally M Medal winner will come from this list, with Tedesco and 2018 winner Tuivasa-Sheck among the favourites. Nicoll-Klokstad had a terrific season for the Raiders, Gutherson was a rock for the vastly improved Eels, while Hughes is probably a long shot, especially after being moved to halfback late in the season.
Who will win the 2019 Dally M medal?
Winger of the Year nominees
- Blake Ferguson (Parramatta Eels)
- Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)
- Edrick Lee (Newcastle Knights)
- Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
- Ken Maumalo (New Zealand Warriors)
The shock omission in this category is Eels cult hero Maika Sivo - the NRL's leading try-scorer in 2019. His teammate Ferguson is a good chance to be named Winger of the Year, as are Tupou and Maumalo. Addo-Carr had a good season, while the big surprise nominee was Lee.
Centre of the Year nominees
- Brian Kelly (Gold Coast Titans)
- Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers)
- Jarrod Croker (Canberra Raiders)
- Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters)
- Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Mitchell looms as the hot favourite for Centre of the Year, but Croker had a typically good year and might steal Mitchell's thunder. Hopoate is a definite dark horse after a consistent season with the Bulldogs, while Marsters and Kelly put together solid campaigns.
Five-eighth of the Year nominees
- Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers)
- Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
- Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters)
- Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
- Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders)
This is arguably the most open category, with every player making a compelling case for top honours. Munster and Walker were on another planet in the first half of the season, while Keary left his mark on the second half of the season. Former fullback Wighton was nothing short of outstanding all year and 34-year-old Marshall proved he's anything but washed up.
Halfback of the Year nominees
- Adam Reynolds (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
- Chad Townsend (Cronulla Sharks)
- Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles)
- Mitchell Pearce (Newcastle Knights)
- Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels)
No Cooper Cronk makes this an intriguing list of nominees. Cherry-Evans was excellent for Manly but missed games, while Pearce was red-hot earlier in the season before cooling off late. Reynolds and Townsend both ran hot and cold at times, leaving Moses as the favourite for Halfback of the Year after answering his critics and steering Parra to a top six finish.
Prop of the Year nominees
- David Klemmer (Newcastle Knights)
- Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
- Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons)
- Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters)
- Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos)
It's hard to go past Papalii and what he has done to help the Raiders become a premiership heavyweight in 2019. Klemmer was reliable in his first year with the Knights, Taukeiaho quietly and efficiently went about his business, while Vaughan was steady. The greatest threat to Papalii claiming top honours is Haas.
Hooker of the Year nominees
- Cameron McInnes (St George Illawarra Dragons)
- Cameron Smith (Melbourne Smith)
- Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
- Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders)
- Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers)
Another category that is very hard to pick. Smith's shadow will always loom large over everybody else until he retires, but that doesn't mean he had a better season than either Hodgson or Cook. And while James Tedesco might be the hot favourite for the prestigious Dally M Medal, if he doesn't win there's a good chance Hodgson will. McInnes was the Dragons' best player in 2019, while Farah's last hurrah in the NRL was a fitting finale for a champion player.
Second-rower of the Year nominees
- John Bateman (Raiders)
- Kenneath Bromwich (Storm)
- Manu Ma'u (Eels)
- Ryan Matterson (Wests Tigers)
- Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs)
Tigers recruit Matterson is the lone Australian nominee in this category with Englishmen Bateman and Burgess alongside Kiwis Bromwich and Ma'u. Bateman has been arguably the signing of the season and helped the Raiders to a grand final berth while Bromwich enjoyed a breakout season, Ma'u starred for the Eels in his final year before departing for England and Burgess was imposing as ever for Souths.
Lock of the Year nominees
- Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs)
- Dale Finucane (Storm)
- Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)
- Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)
- Paul Gallen (Sharks)
Reigning lock of the Year Taumalolo is facing stiff competition from NSW Origin debutants Murray and Finucane, Manly workhorse Trbojevic and retiring Sharks legend Gallen. Taumalolo and Gallen have both taken out this award three times.
Interchange player of the Year nominees
- Braden Hamlin-Uele (Sharks)
- Brandon Smith (Storm)
- Francis Molo (Cowboys)
- Manase Fainu (Sea Eagles)
- Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Panthers)
Sharks prop Hamlin-Uele, Melbourne hooker/middle forward Brandon Smith, Cowboys front-rower Molo, Manly rake Fainu and Panthers big man Campbell-Gillard all proved you didn't need a starting spot to make a big impact in 2019. Campbell-Gillard won this award in 2017.
Female player of the Year nominees
- Jessica Sergis (Dragons)
- Botille Vette-Welsh (Dragons)
- Millie Boyle (Broncos)
- Charntay Poko (Warriors)
Dragons centre Sergis leads the Holden Women's Premiership for tries and tackle busts this season, her teammate Vette-Welsh is the competition's leading metre-eater from fullback, front-rower Boyle has been a vital player for defending champions Brisbane, and Warriors playmaker Poko has been the NRLW's most dominant kicker in general play – with two 40/20s and almost twice as many kick metres as any other player.
Rookie of the Year nominees
- Bronson Xerri (Sharks)
- Maika Sivo (Eels)
- Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm)
- Briton Nikora (Sharks)
- Payne Haas (Broncos)
It's been a brilliant year for the NRL's young guns, with five instant stars nominated for this award. Xerri, Sivo and Papenhuyzen have been attacking weapons for Cronulla, Parramatta and Melbourne, with Sivo the NRL's leading try-scorer and Papenhuyzen forcing his way into the Storm's starting side for their finals run. Nikora has been a class act all season in the Sharks' second row, earning a debut in round one, while Haas has been a revelation for Brisbane as an all-action prop who can play the full 80 minutes.
Captain of the Year nominees
- Boyd Cordner (Roosters)
- Cameron Smith (Storm)
- Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles)
- Jarrod Croker (Raiders)
- Josh Jackson (Bulldogs)
Smith (four times) and Croker are previous winners of this award, with Smith leading the Storm to yet another minor premiership while Croker has helped guide the Raiders to their first grand final since 1994. Cordner could be able to lift the premiership trophy for the second straight year with the Roosters, Cherry-Evans helped Manly transform from 15th-placed strugglers to top eight contenders, and Jackson led the Bulldogs to a giant-killing run late in the season.
Coach of the Year nominees
- Brad Arthur (Eels)
- Craig Bellamy (Storm)
- Des Hasler (Sea Eagles)
- Ricky Stuart (Raiders)
- Trent Robinson (Roosters)
Five deserving candidates here, with Arthur and Hasler taking their clubs from the foot of the ladder in 2018 into the top six this season, Bellamy taking a young Storm side to their third minor premiership in the past four years, and Stuart and Robinson taking their clubs all the way to the grand final.