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Former stars form new Dally M vote panel

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/03/2017 Warren Barnsley

The NRL has given the annual Dally M Awards "additional credibility" by forming a new voting panel comprised entirely of former players.

Previously, judges were a combination of rugby league journalists and former players involved in coverage of the sport.

The new panel includes Peter Sterling, Darren Lockyer, Greg Alexander, Ben Ikin, Kevin Walters, Mark Gasnier, Andrew Johns, Ryan Girdler, Petero Civoniceva and Steve Menzies.

In other changes, total matches for each judge will be capped, while consecutive voting on one team will be restricted and State of Origin matches will no longer be included.

NRL head of football Brian Canavan said increased transparency was behind the move.

"The Dally M represents the pinnacle achievement for players in a given season and we believe these changes make the award even more special for our players and our supporters," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"The voting system is clearer and more transparent, while the formalisation of a judging panel - which includes some of the most prominent minds in the game - will give the awards additional credibility."

The top award, the Dally M Medal, was jointly won by Melbourne Storm's Cooper Cronk and North Queensland's Jason Taumalolo in 2016.

A 10-person team of the year is also selected based on votes from judges for the best player in each position, while awards for best coach, captain rookie and representative player are handed out.

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