James Tedesco upstages Cam Smith at RLPA Awards

By Steve Zemek, Steve Zemek is a Roar Guru

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    James Tedesco has sprung a surprise by outpolling Cameron Smith to be named the Rugby League Players’ Association player of the year.

    The Wests Tigers fullback was named the best player by his peers in a shock result, beating finalists Smith, 2016 winner North Queensland’s James Taumalolo, Sam Burgess, Nathan Cleary, Tom Trbojevic and Gareth Widdop on Tuesday night.

    Despite his side failing to make the finals, Tedesco was announced as the winner of the game’s second most prestigious individual award at the awards night at The Star in Sydney.

    Smith, who last weekend passed Darren Lockyer’s all-time most games record when he ran out for his 356th match, was considered a shoo-in.

    Smith is an unbackable $1.08 favourite with some bookies for the Dally M which will be announced in grand final week

    The award voting system involves all players selecting their top three players from the opposition after each match.

    Tedesco joins an illustrious winners’ list which includes Johnathan Thurston, Darius Boyd, Jarryd Hayne, Braith Anasta, Petero Civoniceva, Matt Bowen and Danny Buderus.

    During the regular season Tedesco topped the league for tackle busts (153) and was seventh for run metres (163m per game).

    Tedesco in May announced he would be moving to the Roosters in 2018, joining star players Aaron Woods and Mitchell Moses in exiting the Tigers.

    Smith was named Australian representative player of the year and included in the RLPA team of the year while Canberra’s Nick Cotric was awarded rookie of the year.

    RLPA team of the year
    1. James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), 2. Jordan Rapana (Canberra), 3. Konrad Hurrell (Gold Coast), 4. Dane Gagai (Newcastle), 5. David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers), 6. Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra), 7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith), 8. Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers), 9. Cameron Smith (Melbourne), 10. David Klemmer (Canterbury), 11. Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland), 12. Wade Graham (Cronulla), 13. Sam Burgess (South Sydney).

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (31)

    • September 12th 2017 @ 10:26pm
      tim said | September 12th 2017 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

      Only four players from the team of the year came from top 8 teams. It beggars belief.

      • September 12th 2017 @ 10:41pm
        Bill larkin said | September 12th 2017 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

        It goes to the credibility of the RLPA Awards. Players voting for mates is no basis for proper awards.

        Tigers three players to Storm one in “team of the year”. Nuff said.

        • Roar Guru

          September 13th 2017 @ 6:58am
          eagleJack said | September 13th 2017 @ 6:58am | ! Report

          It’s not really mates voting for their mates. Or are you suggesting that the players in the team of the year are the most popular guys in the NRL?

          Weaker teams with one or two good players will always get a good representation in this format.

          If you’ve just played the Wests Tigers, who are most likely going to be the standout players from the opposition that you vote for? I’d say that close to every time it’s going to be Tedesco and Woods. Knights? Well I’d say you vote for Gaigai as he’s the guy in everything. Souths? Sam Burgess.

          A team like the Broncos or Parramatta don’t have any real standouts in 2017. The players would be sharing the votes.

          • September 13th 2017 @ 2:10pm
            Albo said | September 13th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

            Spot on EJ ! It would be hard to be the regular standout player in a team like the Storm , whilst say, the Tigers stars are the same each week. Hence the Teddy triumph this year I would suggest. I’m not sure too many consider this award in the same regard as the Dally M or Clive Churchill medal ?

          • Roar Rookie

            September 14th 2017 @ 12:38pm
            catcat said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            “Weaker teams with one or two good players will always get a good representation in this format.”
            Looking at this list that is certainly true….

            James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), 2. Jordan Rapana (Canberra), 3. Konrad Hurrell (Gold Coast), 4. Dane Gagai (Newcastle), 5. David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers), 6. Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra), 7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith), 8. Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers), 9. Cameron Smith (Melbourne), 10. David Klemmer (Canterbury), 11. Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland), 12. Wade Graham (Cronulla), 13. Sam Burgess (South Sydney).

      • September 13th 2017 @ 6:21pm
        TigerMike said | September 13th 2017 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

        Yes, it begs belief
        Doesn’t it

    • Roar Guru

      September 12th 2017 @ 11:53pm
      Emcie said | September 12th 2017 @ 11:53pm | ! Report

      That’s a, uh, interesting team of the year…

    • September 13th 2017 @ 5:49am
      Bill larkin said | September 13th 2017 @ 5:49am | ! Report

      None from the Roosters, Broncos or Paramatta. The players were taking the proverbial, surely.

    • September 13th 2017 @ 6:10am
      Paul Chapman said | September 13th 2017 @ 6:10am | ! Report

      There are 11 NSW teams in the completion against 5 outside NSW. Of course there is a much better chance of a Sydney/NSW player being selected. It is about the same voting system as the Legends of League when 11 NSW & 5 Qld Journalists voted for Johns or Meninga. I rest my case.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 13th 2017 @ 9:37am
        William Dalton Davis said | September 13th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        I don’t think it’s a qld vs nsw bias people are complaining about. It’s a bottom vs top team bias. How does Konrad Hurrell get the nod over say Walker and Roberts. It’s a flawed system that gives good players in mediocre teams an edge over the better players because they’re in better teams.

      • September 13th 2017 @ 1:55pm
        P Air said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

        Read the list of past winners – it’s packed with Queenslanders. Paranoid much

    • September 13th 2017 @ 6:39am
      JM said | September 13th 2017 @ 6:39am | ! Report

      Well, someone from the weaker teams must get voted for by the opposite team. Therefore, stronger players in weaker teams are more likely to stand out. A pretty major weakness in the award structure. Teddy won’t get close to winning Dally M because players on the same field were better, just on the other team.

      • September 13th 2017 @ 6:24pm
        TigerMike said | September 13th 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

        Yes you got it spot on, a team like Melb has soo many players getting nominated each week.. The people commenting don’t understand what they’re posting about
        Against the tigers there were only three picked each week. Duh
        PS sucked in Cam haha

    • September 13th 2017 @ 6:52am
      BennO said | September 13th 2017 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      That team couldn’t even beat the nsw origin team.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 13th 2017 @ 12:09pm
        Dave_S said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        It might depend on the respective bar tabs I suspect

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