Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic has capped a stunning individual season to be officially crowned 2021 Dally M Medal winner at Monday's awards night in Brisbane.
Trbojevic became the third player in Manly history behind Cliff Lyons (1990 and 1994) and Matt Orford (2008) to win the award in a record-breaking year.
The Sea Eagles star polled 35 points, the second-highest winning tally in the hisory of the award behind Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston's 36 votes in 2007.
Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary (30) finished second and Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker (29) was third.
Trbojevic’s teammate Daly Cherry-Evans and Roosters fullback James Tedesco (both 23) rounded out the top five.
The 24-year-old finished with an astonishing 11 player of the match awards in a season which included 25 tries in 15 games as well as 30 line breaks and 27 try assists.
"I'll start off by saying what an honour it is to win this award," Trbojevic said.
"I was just reading the past winners and to be recognised amongst that list is pretty special. I don't think it will ever sink in.
"I'll start my thank-yous to the NRL and Queensland government, what they've done for the past three months has been incredible.
"To the Manly boys, Dessie and Chez [Cherry-Evans], I couldn't have done it without you. This medal is a beneficiary for all your hard work and effort.
Craig Bellamy named Dally M Coach of the Year
"To the family back home, mum and dad, I appreciate everything you've done for me over the years and this medal is on the back of everything you've done for me. Without you two I wouldn't be getting it so a big thank you."
Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler heaped praise on his superstar fullback.
"Considering he did it in 15 games it's an amazing effort," Hasler said.
I think the way he approaches it, a lot of players who have watched him play just knows how he handles himself.
"He's a wonderful human being and the way he carries himself with great distinction and great humility. They're other great features that go into the player he is and the reason why we watch."
In the other major awards for the evening, Storm coach Craig Bellamy was crowned coach of the year for a sixth time after guiding Melbourne to the minor premiership which included a 19-game winning streak.
Tedesco accepted the captain of the year gong for guiding the Roosters through a gruelling campaign.
Tedesco's leadership was a shining light for the Roosters in a season he described as "crazy", with injuries and retirements taking a heavy toll.
Tedesco named Dally M Captain of the Year
"It was a difficult year for us and I know it ended it a disappointing way but the fight we showed week-in-week-out with so many young guys like Sammy Walker, I was proud to lead the club," Tedesco said.
"I want to thank Robbo for true leadership, he guided us through it all. To Boyd Cordner, I leaned on him in important times. His presence was awesome all year for us."
Roosters teenager Walker claimed the rookie of the year award after a stellar debut season that included eight tries and 19 try assists.
Veteran Josh Morris claimed the Provan Summons Medal for his incredible show of emotion and respect for brother Brett following his career-ending knee injury against Newcastle in round eight.
Trbojevic was awarded the game's best fullback honour while Cleary (halfback) and Walker (five-eighth) also finished in the team of the year.
Sea Eagles flyer Reuben Garrick joined Brian To'o as the joint wingers of the year after stellar seasons.
Panthers playmaker-turned centre Matt Burton took out centre of the year alongside Storm bulldozer Justin Olam.
The props of the year went to Panthers forward James Fisher-Harris and Broncos bookend Payne Haas.
Penrith forward Viliame Kikau and Parramatta's Isaiah Papali'i were awarded the joint back-rowers of the year while Isaah Yeo claimed the best in the lock position.
Storm rake Brandon Smith took out the hooker of the year award.
2021 Dally M Rookie of the Year - Sam Walker
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo congratulated Trbojevic and all winners ahead of the Telstra Premiership grand final on Sunday.
"On behalf of the game, congratulations to Tom Trbojevic on winning rugby league's highest individual honour," Abdo said.
"It's a remarkable achievement in a remarkable year to poll three points in 11 different games.
"Congratulations to every winner. Tonight we reflected on the people and moments of the season. The players. The coaches. The teamwork. The deep tribalism. The unmatched athleticism. The unforgettable moments of brilliance."
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