Roosters fullback James Tedesco is favourite to claim the Dally M Medal. Picture: Brett Costello
Roosters fullback James Tedesco is favourite to claim the Dally M Medal. Picture: Brett Costello

Teddy ready to join the greats

First it was the Jack Gibson Medal, then Wally Lewis, Brad Fittler and now Dally Messenger.

Sydney Roosters superstar James Tedesco will start overwhelming favourite to claim the prestigious Dally M Medal, which is named after the legendary Messenger, at a glittering black-tie event in Sydney on Wednesday night.

Tedesco holds the Jack Gibson Medal for being the Sydney Roosters' best and fairest last year.

He also won the Wally Lewis and Brad Fittler Medals this season for his heroics in helping NSW win the State of Origin series.

In what would be an unprecedented haul for a player, Tedesco has been installed red-hot $1.30 favourite to secure Wednesday evening's Dally M Medal at the Hordern Pavilion in Moore Park.

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Tedesco is holding nearly six times the money that has been wagered on his nearest rivals. Melbourne, Queensland and Australian skipper Cam Smith is second favourite at $4.25, according to the TAB.

No other player is in single figures in the betting market.

Other leading candidates for rugby league's premier individual award include Cameron Munster, Jason Taumalolo, Mitchell Pearce, Damien Cook, Mitchell Moses, Luke Keary and last year's Dally M Medal winner, New Zealand's Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Tedesco, who is preparing for Sunday's grand final against Canberra, was paying a tidy $15 to win the gong entering round one this season.

 

James Tedesco has been in tremendous form again this season. Picture: Brett Costello
James Tedesco has been in tremendous form again this season. Picture: Brett Costello

After being dominated by halfbacks for years, four fullbacks - Tuivasa-Sheck, Jarryd Hayne, Ben Barba and Billy Slater - have claimed the award over the past decade.

That may well become five with Tedesco's expected triumph on Wednesday night.

"(Tonight) we celebrate the best of the best in our game," NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.

"We play 192 games in a regular season and it took until the 191st game to determine who would make the top eight. "On that basis, I'm sure the Dally M count will be just as tight.

"The Dally Ms will also be a great opportunity to acknowledge the groundbreaking successes we've had this year like Magic Round, taking Origin to Perth and the stand-alone women's matches.

 

 

Tedesco scores against the Panthers in round 24. He’s scored 17 tries this season. Picture: Getty Images
Tedesco scores against the Panthers in round 24. He’s scored 17 tries this season. Picture: Getty Images

"Above all, though, Dally M night is about the players. It's the game's chance to acknowledge their remarkable feats across the season and relive the highlights which inspire kids to practice in the park each and every afternoon."

Other awards tonight include coach of the year, rookie of the year, positional awards, the Peter Frilingos headline moment, captain of the year, representative player of the year, top tryscorer, top pointscorer, the Provan-Summons Medal, the Ken Stephen Medal and female player of the year.

Voting went behind closed doors after round 12 when Newcastle halfback Pearce led on 15 points, one clear of Munster and Cook.

Two points further back were Taumalolo, Smith and Tedesco.

All votes, which are lodged by former rugby league greats, are collated by leading accounting firm Ernst and Young.

The Dally M awards were first conceived by Sydney's Daily Mirror in 1980. Wednesday night's event starts at 6pm and concludes at 10pm.