The Roar
The Roar


The 'Wally Lewis Medal' Voting System is flawed

Billy Slater of Queensland. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
15th July, 2018

The highly controversial decision to award Billy Slater the ‘Wally Lewis Medal’ has taken the gloss off Slater’s retirement from representative rugby league.

How Slater has been judged to have been the Player of the Series by three Legends of rugby league in Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley and Darren Lockyer after he missed Game 1 at the MCG through injury is beyond belief.

For starters Daly Cherry-Evans should have been voted man of the match in the third match and that’s not just my opinion, but also that of the eighth Immortal Andrew Johns. Johns said as much after the match.

Cherry–Evans had an outstanding match in his return to the State of Origin arena by taking control of the game at crucial stages in the second half. He had a large influence on the result.

Sure, Billy played really well in Origins 2 and 3, but for the selectors to try to justify their decision – especially Darren Lockyer with his comment that “Billy Slater was significantly clear of the next player in the voting” – was hard to comprehend.

If Todd Greenberg had come out and publicly released the votes then rugby league fans could probably move on and live with the decision. However, because the NRL have refused to, it’s little wonder that the integrity of the whole voting system is being heavily criticised and brought in to question.

If it’s good enough for the AFL to disclose the votes for the Norm Smith Medal after the grand final, why can’t the NRL follow suit for the Wally Lewis Medal – and of course the Clive Churchill?

The fact that it was Billy Slater’s last match for Queensland and with all of the emotion and publicity surrounding it that shouldn’t have come in to the equation, but it appears as though it has.

I’m a proud and passionate Queensland supporter, but like a number of other unbiased Queensland fans feel that James Tedesco, Boyd Cordner or Damien Cook were more worthy and deserving of the Medal based on their Performances over all three Origin games.


After all NSW did win the series 2–1.

For Todd Greenberg to come out and say that the voting system is in need of a review is inadvertently admitting that the current System is flawed and that they got it wrong by awarding the ‘Wally Lewis Medal’ to Billy Slater.

If the votes were legitimate and there was no collusion between the three judges then the NRL should have nothing to hide and be happy to disclose the votes. That sadly is not the case so we have no transparency – and a number of unanswered questions.