Melbourne boss Justin Rodski says Justin Olam is in the running to win Dally M centre of the year with his omission an error by the NRL.
Olam’s teammate Cameron Munster blew up after the PNG star was left of Dally M team of the year consideration despite being one of the Storm’s most consistent performers.
In a breakout season, the 27-year-old scored 12 tries in 23 games while made a name for himself as one of the hardest-hitting defenders.
The nominees for every position were announced on Monday night ahead of the second night of the award ceremony, which is being held at Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves, with the omission of Olam the biggest shock.
Munster said he was “pretty disappointed” and that the NRL system needed to be changed.
While it appeared to be an NRL backflip following the uproar, Rodski said the league claimed it was a mistake.
“I’ve spoken to the NRL and they were very apologetic,” Rodski said on Wednesday.
“It was an administrative error so he was absolutely nominated, he was invited, as he should have been.
“He’s been a class act all season, he’s had an incredible season, he’s a quality human being, he’s a proud Papua New Guinea man and a proud Melbourne Storm player.
“I was really pleased to hear that it was a mistake.”
Rodski said that Olam was “embarrassed” by the attention caused by the oversight and was still to be officially told of his nomination.
Former Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith said the error was “embarrassing” for the NRL.
“He’s been the best centre in the competition this year,” Smith told SEN radio.
Smith also questioned how no Storm players were among the top five contenders for the Dally M player of the year award, despite the club’s 19-game winning streak.
“The Storm only lost three games,” Smith said.
“There’s a whole heap of matches there where players like Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith and even Nicho Hynes should be picking up threes and twos (voted) but they’re nowhere to be seen.”