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Cronk, Taumalolo win Dally M medal

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/09/2016 Matt Encarnacion

They were inseparable after 16 games, and nothing changed after 26.

For the second time in three years, joint winners claimed the Dally M medal, with Melbourne's Cooper Cronk and North Queensland's Jason Taumalolo crowned on Wednesday night.

The countdown at The Star in Sydney went down to the wire. Kiwis international forward Taumalolo drew level with Kangaroos and Queensland halfback Cronk in round 25 however neither got any points in the final round.

"We had a little special moment when it came to the last round. We were asking each other,' Did you play well? What did you do?' Cronk said.

"We couldn't work out whether we gained points or not so we just had a little shake of the hands and said, 'Well I hope we get to share it with you'."

Cronk's prize night continues a superb few days that includes joining the exclusive 300-game club, as well as helping the Storm qualify for Sunday's grand final against Cronulla.

He became just the eighth player to win the award on multiple occasions.

Taumalolo was the first forward to wear the medal since Storm skipper Cameron Smith achieved the feat in 2006.

He is also the second Kiwi to claim the award.

"I'm so proud of the year I've had, but in saying that it's a team sport and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for everyone else who takes the field with me every weekend," he said.

Melbourne dominated the positional awards, with Cronk (halfback), Smith (hooker) and Kiwis forward Jesse Bromwich (prop) taking out three of the nine gongs.

Ricky Stuart took out coach of the year for his role in waking up the sleeping giant in Canberra, leading them to within one game of a decider.

Gold Coast 21-year-old Ash Taylor held off a late push from Penrith teenager Nathan Cleary for rookie of the year, while the Raiders' Jarrod Croker won captain of the year.

Kezie Apps took out the Dally M female of the year.


Fullback: James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)

Wing: Josh Mansour (Penrith)

Centre: Joey Leilua (Canberra)

Five-eighth: James Maloney (Cronulla)

Halfback: Cooper Cronk (Melbourne)

Lock: Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland)

Second-rower: Matt Gillett (Brisbane)

Prop: Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne)

Hooker: Cameron Smith (Melbourne)

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