WE all knew the result was a forgone conclusion, but on Monday night the NRL crowned Johanthan Thurston as the best player this season.
Bookmakers such as Sportsbet.com.au had already paid out on the now four-time Dally M winner, but it was finally confirmed that the North Queensland Cowboys co-captain would take home the spoils.
Thurston claimed his unprecedented fourth title by a record margin of 11 points. He finished above a trio in second which included Michael Ennis, Aaron Woods and Ben Hunt.
After winning in 2005, 2007 and sharing the award with NFL’s Jarryd Hayne last year, Thurston was emotional when speaking about what the Dally M Medal means to him.
“I’m a little bit nervous here. I can’t explain what it means to be standing here in front of family, friends and teammates especially. But the first people I’d like to thank are the teammates I train with every day and spend most of my time with,” Thurston said.
“This award is much theirs as it is mine so special thanks to those boys. The coaching staff that has put the structures in place for us to execute, our medical staff, our fans who travel to watch us play.
“[Wife] Samantha, thank you very much for everything you do for me, I can’t thank you enough – you’re my rock.”
Thurston again thanked his teammates which helped him perform to the excellent standard he set this season.
“We play the game for friendships; I get to run around with my best mates week in and week out, when you’re playing at Origin level and for your country as well. It’s about having fun out there, it’s a team game,” he said.
“The boys I have around me, they do all the hard work for me, I put the cream on top. It’s been a heck of a year, I couldn’t be more proud standing up here with my fourth Dally M award.”
The Cowboys are equal $1.92 favourites at Sportsbet to win the NRL final and Thurston is going to envelop what final’s week is all about.
“It’s going to be an enjoyable week, it’s why you play football for to be in the big dance and we’ve given ourselves the opportunity to come up against the form team of the year in the Broncos,” Thurston said.
“It’s going to be a cracker of a night and we’re all looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun.”
2015 Dally M Award winners:
Player of the Year – Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
Lock of the Year – Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)
Second-rower of the Year – Josh Jackson (Bulldogs)
Hooker of the Year – Michael Ennis (Sharks)
Prop of the Year – Aaron Woods (Tigers)
Halfback of the Year – Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
Five-eighth of the Year – Blake Austin (Raiders)
Centre of the Year – James Roberts (Titans)
Winger of the Year – Semi Radradra (Eels)
Fullback of the Year – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters)