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Experts' view: Who'll win the Dally M Medal?

The Dally M leaderboard after four rounds of the 2021 season resembles a who's who of the NRL.

Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Ryan Papenhuyzen are just some of the big names to have started the year well.

But the question is: Who will maintain top form all season and prove themselves the best of the best?

The experts at have had their say on who they think will be honoured on the NRL's night of nights.

Experts' view - Dally M winner

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

If Melbourne keep being consistent for the majority of the year, Ryan Papenhuyzen will be a shoe-in for the award. He has been in wonderful form so far this year.

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Brett Kimmorley (Former Test halfback)

Nathan Cleary. He is the master organiser on a team that will probably finish in the top two (or one). He rarely plays poorly and halfbacks have a great history of getting lots of votes.

Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers legend)

I'm taking Ryan Papenhuyzen. He has the chance to have a few more great nights like last week, and even his average games are still very good.

Jamie Soward (2010 premiership winner)

Latrell Mitchell will win the Dally M because he has got the perfect balance of support play around the ruck and threat out the back. Also, he carries the ball back stronger than any other fullback in the game. 

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Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League) 

Latrell Mitchell has taken his game to another level this year and will win the Dally M Medal. He is playing confident footy and has formed a sensational combination with Cody Walker. 

Alicia Newton ( reporter)

The Storm haven’t had a Dally M medal winner since Cameron Smith in 2017 but, with the champion hooker gone, Ryan Papenhuyzen has been a clear standout in the side’s opening month of the season. Harry Grant’s return and Cameron Munster's influence appear to the only chances of limiting Papenhuyzen’s votes. 

Paul Suttor ( editor)

Let's not overthink this - if his current form holds and injuries don't strike, Nathan Cleary will be the most influential player on a genuine premiership contender in Penrith. He was unlucky to miss out on the award last year, it's his to lose in 2021.

Zac Bailey ( reporter)

Ryan Papenhuyzen. The Storm fullback has risen to every challenge so far in his young career. The reigning Clive Churchill medallist has been a stand-out in his three matches this year and I expect him to continue his strong form for the rest of 2021.

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Chris Kennedy ( reporter)

I said Latrell Mitchell in the pre-season so with the in-form Bunnies fullback notching seven points through four games to sit one off the leaderboard so far, I better stick with him. He looks like he has plenty of improvement in him as well. 

Paul Zalunardo ( senior journalist)

Damien Cook. The Souths maestro has looked great over the opening four rounds - thanks in large to some great displays from his forwards. Cook is a match-winner, and his darting runs out of dummy-half and ability to turn breaks into tries sticks in the minds of voters.

Lone Scout ( Fantasy guru)

I expect the Roosters to remain one of the top sides in the league despite Luke Keary’s injury, and that leaves James Tedesco as the team’s undisputed main attacking weapon. He’s my pick for the Dally M. 

Brad Walter ( senior reporter)

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. The Roosters, Rabbitohs, Storm, Panthers and Eels have star-studded rosters with players who are likely to take points off each other whereas RTS is a stand-out for a Warriors team on the rise this season. He is determined to finish his NRL career on a high note.  

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Troy Whittaker ( reporter)

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is so influential that he’s collected votes every round despite losing two of four games. He is the heartbeat of a team that will compete strongly most weeks.

Dan Walsh ( reporter)

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Is at the peak of his powers in his last year of NRL - one hell of a combination for an already proven elite performer. Also less likely to have points pinched by his teammates than players at other star-studded teams. 

Martin Lenehan ( senior journalist)

Ryan Papenhuyzen will continue the hot run of fullbacks after James Tedesco saluted in 2019 and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in 2018. With Cameron Smith enjoying his retirement, Papenhuyzen will rack up a huge proportion of the Storm votes and go on to emulate his mentor Billy Slater.


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The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.

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