Darren Lockyer will live to regret his Wally Lewis Medal explanation

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    “Billy Slater was well in front of anyone else,” was how Darren Lockyer explained how the Queensland captain took out the Wally Lewis Medal as Origin man-of-the-series award, despite missing the first game through injury.

    Lockyer was one of three selectors with Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley. The three share 91 Origin and 131 Kangaroo caps, arguably the most experienced trio in the code’s history.

    Yet the public outcry since Wednesday night has gone through the roof.

    Billy Slater

    Billy Slater is chaired off the field (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

    And mostly it’s been Lockyer’s explanation that simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

    As well as Slater played in the last two games, it wasn’t mathematically possible that “nobody was close to him”.

    Daley made a far more sensible explanation with “Billy Slater won fairly under the system”.

    And therein lies the problem – the system is wrong.

    The three selectors handed out 4-3-2-1 points for each of the three Origins, and that obviously turned up a ridiculous decision.

    In future, the only fair points method would be for the three selectors to individually rate every Origin player who takes the field with points out of 10. The NRL has already announced it is considering changes to the voting system.

    After three games every player will have a total, and there is the winner of the man-of-the-series.

    I did that system for this series, and Slater wasn’t way in front. In fact he was way behind.

    Under the system I used, there were 15 players in front of Slater.

    James Tedesco (NSW) – 9.5 – 7 – 7 – total 23.5.
    Valentine Holmes (Queensland) – 7.5 – 7.5 – 8.5 – 23.5.
    James Maloney (NSW) – 9 – 8 – 6 – 23.
    Damien Cook (NSW) – 8.5 – 7 – 9.5 – 23.
    Tom Trbojevic (NSW) – 8.5 – 7 – 7.5 – 23.
    Jake Trbojevic (NSW) – 7.5 – 7.5 – 8 – 23.
    Boyd Cordner (NSW) – 8.5 – 7 – 7 – 22.5.
    Dane Gagai (Queensland) – 8 – 7 – 6.5 – 21.5.
    Cameron Muster (Queensland) – 5.5 – 6.5 – 8 – 20.
    Jack de Belin (NSW) – 6 – 8 – 6 – 20.
    Tyson Frizell (NSW) – 7 – 6 – 7 – 20.
    Gavin Cooper (Queensland) – 6 – 6 – 7.5 – 19.5.
    David Klemmer (NSW) – 7 – 5.5 – 7 – 19.5.
    Nathan Cleary (NSW) – 6 – 6.5 – 6.5 – 19.
    Felese Kaufusi (Queensland) – 4 – 7 – 8 – 19.
    Billy Slater (Queensland) – 0 – 8 – 9 – 17.

    Sharing a medal isn’t on, so Tedesco wins on two counts – he was on the winning side, and his best points tally of 9.5 was better than Holmes’ 8.5.

    But the telling stat is ten from NSW, and five from Queensland, finished ahead of Billy Slater.

    To be fair, the look on Slater’s face when Wally Lewis placed the coveted medal around his neck was one of astonishment, not delight.

    He knew it wasn’t possible when he played in only two of the three games.

    And what make the decision even more amazing, the selectors were banned by the NRL from mathematically proving their decision.

    Now it’s up to the NRL to support the full bottle of awarding points out of ten to every player who takes the field in all three games.

    If the NRL can come up with something better, I’ll be all for it.

    There’s just one thing for certain, the 4-3-2-1 points system is fatally flawed.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (51)

    • July 14th 2018 @ 8:10am
      Forty Twenty said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      It’s unfortunate that the award will historically make Slater appear wildly superior to all others who played in the series and that isn’t fair on a player like Tedesco who had a massive impact.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 8:22am
        Damo said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        Wow. You NSW lot couldn’t be sore losers this year as you won the series. But you will find something to be sore losers about. Billy was clearly the enigmatic difference in game 2 and 3 and Tedesco had one game of pin ball brilliance. Cook or Cordner if anyone was NSW best across the series.

        Grow up and move on or maybe we talk about the people from losing grand finals who won the man of match and I didn’t hear the outcry then.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 8:40am
          theHunter said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          Damo, Billy wasn’t the enigmatic difference. In game 2 he did nothing in the second half and in game 3 the Enigmatic difference was DCE. Billy is a legend but that award was very cheap. In all his Origin career that was a 6 out of 10 series for him. His performances in numbers/stats were not even close to Tedesco’s and usually its the other way around.

          Billy has performed a thousand times better than his performance this year and he never always got the MOTS. But he plays two games, performs average in both games and wins it on his final origin match is, well, questionable.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 8:42am
          Paul said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          Sorry Einstein but you need to have a rethink about your comment, without showing any Maroon bias.

          FT was simply pointing out that according to Lockyer, Billy was apparently streets ahead of every other player in a three game series, where he missed game one, played well in patches in game two and played well in game 3. There were any number of players who were better than Billy across the series, or at least close to his performances.

          As for your comment about Billy being an “enigmatic difference”; you’re right he was. His lack of input in attack after the first 30 minutes of game 2 probably cost the Maroons the series – this was “difficult to interpret or understand: mysterious”. I for one would like to thank Billy for being enigmatic.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 9:25am
          Forty Twenty said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          That’s my point Damo , history has already been rewritten. If Slater didn’t win the player of the series not one person either side of the border would have said one word but because he did people like you give it a credit that is highly flawed. The award has been badly tainted this series to the point of embarrassment.

          By the way Milford was MOM in my opinion in the GF a few years back from a losing team and that years award was cheapened to unfairly reward JT. These legends don’t need or deserve false accolades.

          • July 14th 2018 @ 11:41am
            Nate said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

            Milfold made some exciting plays. JT won the cowboys the game. Different people, different opinions. A judging system will never be perfect cause not everyone will always be satified with others judgements.

          • July 14th 2018 @ 2:27pm
            Wayne Turner said | July 14th 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            “These legends don’t need or deserve false accolades.” – Sums it up,and pathetically the fools like these 3 stooges keep doing it.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm
        Mushi said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        Does it really matter this much?

        The series isn’t about individual achievement, it’s like the whingeing about Clive churchill medals that happens most years.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 2:23pm
        Wayne Turner said | July 14th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

        Nope it will be remembered as the series in which the wrong person won it ie: Clyde winning CC Award in 1991 GF instead of Simmons.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 9:18am
      gurudoright said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      James Tedesco (NSW) – 9.5 – 7 – 7 – total 23.5.
      Valentine Holmes (Queensland) – 7.5 – 7.5 – 8.5 – 23.5.
      James Maloney (NSW) – 9 – 8 – 6 – 23.
      Damien Cook (NSW) – 8.5 – 7 – 9.5 – 23.
      Tom Trbojevic (NSW) – 8.5 – 7 – 7.5 – 23.

      I’m no expert in mathematics, but surely Damien Cook’s 8.5 – 7 – 9.5 isn’t 23 but actually 25. A deserved man of the series

      • Roar Rookie

        July 14th 2018 @ 10:36am
        Don said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        Maths isn’t David’s strength.
        There’s no way Cook is a 7 in game 2 and a 9.5 in game 3 either. He was just ok in game 2 and outside of the nice pass to Tedesco for a try and a couple of little runs he was maybe a 7 in game 3.

        And Boyd Cordner played better in game 2 than game 1 yet he scored 1.5 points fewer in game 2?

        The current scoring includes the top 4 players in each game though.
        Cook was probably 3rd best behind Tedesco and Maloney in game 1.
        He wasn’t even near the best 4 in game 2.
        And I doubt he would’ve polled any votes in game 3 either with DCE, Holmes, Slater, Tedesco, Tom Turbo and Jake Trbojevic ahead of him.

        David’s ratings just prove that the whole concept is subjective. And given we vote other awards the same way as we currently do the WLM and we regularly see MOM decisions that contradict what we feel we have watched, I don’t see the big deal?

        For what its worth; I had Tedesco as the WLM winner. He got 4 in game 1, 1 in game 2 and 1 in game 3.
        I could only give Slater 2 in game 2 and another 2 in game 3…

        • Columnist

          July 14th 2018 @ 11:11am
          David Lord said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Damien Cook’s 9.5 is a typo, iI gave him 7.5 for 23 for Origin 3 – my fault, thanks for pointing it out gurodoright.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 11:50am
        Richard POWELL said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        Except it wasn’t 9.5 in game 3. Try 7.5

    • Roar Rookie

      July 14th 2018 @ 9:19am
      souvalis said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      In the first instance why the need to name awards after one player from one of the combatting teams ?

      I mean whats wrong with the Kenny/Lewis…Mortimer/Lewis…Fittler/Lewis..whatever,so theres equality ?

      Its all a bit slimey now,and could become worse than any thing Brian Fletcher did….

      • July 14th 2018 @ 10:03am
        andrew said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        I agree, lewis mortimer shield sounds more equal.
        By the logic of panel in deciding Slater due to the stand out performance in the 2 game series he played, then surely gallen or hayne would have dominated the points during the qld dynasty. Farcical moment for the nrl and displayed a true lack of insight and bias from Lockyer unfortunately. Maybe phil gould and tommy raudonikis can help next year.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 6:26pm
          Canetoad said | July 14th 2018 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

          ok we call it the Lewis Mortimer shield, then we have as many immortals from QLD as from NSW, it is only fair.

          NSW … little nanny state???? i think they are getting infected from Victoria …

          • Roar Rookie

            July 15th 2018 @ 11:36am
            Short Memory said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            What I really like about this site, and why I and others come here rather than the tabloids, is the lack of trolls. Let’s try and keep it that way, hey?

    • July 14th 2018 @ 9:21am
      Andrew1 said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      By the logic the panel have used Paul Gallen or Hayne should have won every man of the series during the Qld dynasty.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 12:46pm
        Craig said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

        ummm no. And obviously they didn’t , because the same system has been used over that period.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 9:29am
      rossco said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      I would not hesitate to say that no NSW player will get top marks from Lockyer. Listen to his bias on the TV commentary and you will understand why.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 10:58am
        Geoffwho said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Yes Lockyer is biased. As is Andrew Johns. As is Paul Vautin. As is Phil gould. As is Ray Warren. That’s part of the Channel 9 schtick…. that’s been the way since the first SOO… fill your call with past greats for expert opinions and they will all be biased. Bar Sterlo. He supports NSW but he doesn’t try and rewrite the rules to suit his bias.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 12:53pm
          Mushi said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

          Gould is the most over the top with it.

          It’s like having someone’s mum commentating.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 2:39pm
        Wayne Turner said | July 14th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

        He’s boring too. Mr No Personality – Forget sleeping pills to sleep,just listen to Lockyer talking; YAWN!

    • July 14th 2018 @ 9:40am
      Craig said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      Tedesco MOM game one. On the 4-3-2-1 across three judges, max he scores is 12. Possibly less if someone else pinched points off him.

      Game 2 Cordner was MOM and you’d think in most corners Maloney, Slater, Jurbo, and Ponga as a minimum get points ahead of teddy. Slater probably gets a mixture of 2 and 3 scores from the judges, leaving him on let’s say 7 points. (3-2-2). Teddy gets 0 points.

      Game 3 sees Slater get at least 6 points, probably more. I’d have DCE as MOM personally but Slater probably 2nd or 3rd best. Given he was MOM you’d think he got 9 or more points.

      If he was 3rd best on the park with 6 points , he still beats Tedesco for man of the series. If you agree with him getting MOM then he beats Teddy by a mile.

      Once you think a bit logically it’s not the worst decision.

      Albeit Cook gets it from me.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 14th 2018 @ 11:18am
        Don said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        I think Inglis probably would have received some single votes in game 1. He was enormous in a side well beaten.
        This is where tips go askew.
        I reckon Gavin Cooper might have seen a vote or two in game 3 as well.

        It’s these types who no one enters into the calculations but they stop a vote going to the bloke who is being more widely touted…

        • July 14th 2018 @ 12:08pm
          Craig said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          Inglis getting 1 vote doesn’t change teddy getting 3x 4s nor does cooper getting 1 point change Slater getting twos or threes.

          I’m not sure if your point?

          • Roar Guru

            July 14th 2018 @ 12:59pm
            Emcie said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

            To be fair, getting MOM wouldn’t guarantee 12 points either, getting 10 or 11 points would still pretty much be the best on the park regardless. Not disagreeing with what you’ve said, just thought I’d expand your point.

            I would’ve picked Cook as well, but I can understand how Slater got it under the points system

            • July 14th 2018 @ 3:30pm
              Craig said | July 14th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              Agreed, wouldn’t guarantee 12 points. Tedescos game one would be as close as 12 points as you can get though.

              If Slater got MOM you’d imagine it could’ve been with 10-11 points but must have jagged at least one or two 4s you would think.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 2:52pm
        Lovey said | July 14th 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

        Yes, the points system (same as Dally M).only gives points out if a player is one of the 4best on the field. Tedesco obviously scored 4 in the first game, and none thereafter. Whereas Slater probably scored 5 or 6 in his two.

        Personally I detest these individual awards, as it detracts from the team ethic which is more a part of RLthan other codes. It also discriminated against forwards, and may encourage show ponies.

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