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NRL News: Dally M voting blunders strike again with Hammer polling despite shocker, Dragons target Wallabies star

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11th March, 2024
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The NRL has defended the decision to keep Dally M judges anonymous after Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow’s opening-round point headlined a number of puzzling votes.

Tabuai-Fidow was handed one Dally M point on Sunday, despite being among the worst players on field in the Dolphins’ 43-18 loss to North Queensland.

On a difficult afternoon, the Dolphins fullback made two errors and inexplicably kicked a loose ball back at the Cowboys for them to score.

He also fell for a dummy for the Cowboys’ first try, and missed a tackle on Jeremiah Nanai for North Queensland’s second.

The Queensland State of Origin representative had one highlights play late, making a break on a kick return before Jack Bostock scored for the Dolphins.

The NRL opted to make judged anonymous last season in an overhaul of the Dally M system for integrity purposes, with two judges appointed to each game now.

Under the system, each judge awards a 3-2-1, with the points combined and a maximum of six points therefore available to one player.

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“They are all high-profile former players, and it shouldn’t matter who they are,” NRL head of football Graham Annesley said.

“They’ve got a job to select players who are their peers because they’ve done exactly what these players have done.

“Across the course of the season, the players will be judged by many of these judges, and it’s not like we’ve got these judges doing the same teams every week.

“It’s about the credibility and the integrity of the process, so it shouldn’t matter who is doing the selections as long as they’re people who are qualified to do it.”

Adam Reynolds received one point in Brisbane’s 20-10 loss to the Sydney Roosters in Las Vegas, while Joey Manu was given none despite scoring one try and setting up another for the winners.

Cronulla playmaker Nicho Hynes’s perfect six points in their win over the Warriors also raised some eyebrows.

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“It’s a season-long competition, and people will agree or disagree (with the votes),” Annesley said. 

“It happens publicly for the first half of the year and then it goes behind closed doors.

“That’s been the process for recent seasons, and it’s the process again. It’s a matter of opinion.”

Meanwhile, Annesley conceded he did not believe the Cowboys should have been awarded a second-half penalty try in Sunday’s win, but said it was a matter of opinion for bunker officials.

While he said Jack Bostock had obstructed Zac Laybutt in the in-goal, he did not believe it was a try-scoring situation as the ball bounced away from Laybutt.

Annesley also believed a try should have been awarded to Kyle Feldt late, with the bunker ruling the Cowboys winger had dropped the ball in putting it down.

But the NRL’s football boss defended a decision to deny Penrith a try for an obstruction in Friday night’s loss to Melbourne, labelling it a “black-and-white” call.

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the Dolphins pushes away the defence during the round one NRL match between the Dolphins and North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium, on March 10, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow pushes away the defence. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Jordan on Dragons’ wishlist

St George Illawarra are considering a poaching raid on rugby union with back Jordan Petaia firming as a target for new coach Shane Flanagan.

According to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Wallabies star is an option for the Dragons, especially if Zac Lomax were to depart the club.

Petaia plays for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby Pacific but is off contract at the end of this year and contact has been made between his representatives and the Dragons over a potential code switch.

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St George Illawarra could well require a new outside back will rumours swirling around Lomax.

He was on red hot form at the weekend but is reportedly unhappy at being forced out onto a wing instead of his preferred position in the centres. Parramatta are among several NRL clubs who would happily take on his $800,000 a year contract.

Flanagan insisted that the player will stay put until the end of the season.

“He’s going nowhere,” he told the Herald.

“We’ve told his management that we won’t be letting him go this year. If there’s a conversation to be had, we will have that in the future and it will be about next year.”

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Gilbert suffers further ACL setback

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Dolphins forward Tom Gilbert has suffered a major setback in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament after a blood clot prevented him going under the knife.

The 23-year-old ruptured his ACL in February’s pre-season trial against the Warriors.

The team flew home the next day, with Gilbert developing a blood clot in his calf that later transferred to his lung.

He has since recovered, but the development led to his surgery being postponed.

The Queensland forward will now be racing the clock to be fit for the start of the 2025 season, with rehabilitation from ACL surgery usually in the nine-to-12 month region.

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett confirmed the setback, but could not put a timeline on the player’s surgery.

“I can tell you what we know, and what we know is there’s no definitive conclusion about when the operation’s going to be,” Bennett said after Sunday’s season-opening defeat to North Queensland.

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“He did have a blood clot and it’s been resolved. There’s an ongoing examination with the doctor and we don’t have a definitive answer about what’s going to happen. We’re not going to speculate.

“He was never going to play this season anyway and no one was rushing around to get him an operation.”

Gilbert sat on the Dolphins bench and watched the 43-18 opening-round loss to the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium. Bennett reiterated the champion lock would pull through.

“It’s no more serious than the day he injured his leg,” Bennett said. “He’s OK. He’s here today, he’s fine. He’s young and has still got opportunity in front of him. You don’t put your footy boots on thinking (injury) won’t happen to you. He is a strong person with a great club around him.”

With AAP

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