Thurston wins league's Dally M Medal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston wins league's Dally M Medal

By Steve Jancetic 06/09/2005 10:26:21 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland pivot Johnathan Thurston has withstood a furious finish by Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns to take out this year's Dally M Medal at a glittering ceremony at the Sydney Town Hall.

Thurston was presented with the award for the NRL player of the year by Prime Minister John Howard, capping a standout year for the Queensland Origin halfback.

He held off a strong challenge from Johns, pipping his NSW Origin adversary by just one vote after finishing the year with 32 votes. Manly's Ben Kennedy finished third on 27 votes in one of the tightest counts in the history of the award.

Voting went right down to the wire, with Thurston's man-of the-match performance in the Cowboys' final round win over Melbourne securing the Cowboys playmaker the honour.

Johns was named the representative player of the year following his stellar performances for NSW in games two and three of this year's State of Origin series.

Earlier in the evening, Parramatta No.7 Tim Smith was a runaway winner of the rookie of the year award, while the Wests Tigers were rewarded for their sensational run to a maiden finals berth with a trifecta of awards.

Tim Sheens won the coach of the year after guiding the Tigers to their first finals appearance as a joint-venture club, while Prince was named captain of the year after taking over the role early in the season from regular skipper Mark O'Neill who went down with injury in round eight.

Brett Hodgson completed the hattrick when he was named fullback of the year, beating out a host of high calibre custodians including Billy Slater and Matty Bowen.

St George Illawarra claimed a double with centre Mark Gasnier and prop forward Luke Bailey named as the best in their positions.

Other positional award winners were Braith Anasta at five-eighth, Thurston at halfback, Kennedy at lock, Parramatta's Eric Grothe (wing), Eels teammate Nathan Hindmarsh (second-row) and Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus.

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