Halfback humbled by medal success

STORM halfback Cooper Cronk once had to wrestle with the idea he was just a scruffy kid not good enough to play at the top level.

Today he is the toast of the rugby league world after claiming the coveted Dally M Medal for the first time on Tuesday night.

Ten years ago Cronk was humbled after being dropped from the Melbourne squad and banished to the Queensland Cup. He was humbled again this week but for a far different reason, having won one of the tightest voting counts in the award's history.

Cronk finished on 28 votes, just two ahead of fellow playmakers Daly Cherry-Evans, Johnathan Thurston and Todd Carney.

"To be named alongside Dally Messenger, who is an icon figure of our game, a pioneer, the reason why we play the game ... I'm just really humbled," Cronk said.

Cronk's teammate Cameron Smith took out the captain of the year, the hooker admitting he was surprised to win after his side bowed out in the second week of the finals.

Minor premiers Sydney Roosters dominated the evening with Trent Robinson winning coach of the year and Boyd Cordner second-rower of the year.