Phil Gould has delivered a ‘brutally honest’ whack at the NRL’s top individual award.
Premiership-winning coach Phil Gould says rugby league’s Dally M voting process is “flawed” but far from the most important issue facing the game.
The voting process for the game’s most prestigious award has been under the microscope in recent weeks, with Roosters halfback Luke Keary overlooked following his side’s 40-6 win over the Wests Tigers.
Keary had a hand in four tries in what many believed was a man-of-the-match performance. However, he didn’t receive a single vote, with Brett Morris, James Tedesco and Daine Laurie picking up the 3-2-1.
Tedesco was himself at the centre of controversy in Round One, only receiving one point in the 46-4 win over Manly, despite scoring three tries and setting up another three.
Morris, who scored three tries in both matches, acknowledged that he is often the beneficiary of Keary or Tedesco’s excellence, describing the system as “unfair.”
Speaking on the Wide World of Sports podcast, Six Tackles with Gus, Gould said the system doesn’t work.
“I haven’t liked it for 30 years,” he said.
“I’ve got to be brutally honest, I ignore all this because I’m not interested, I never have been interested in it.
“I’ve always seen the Dally M process as flawed, I’ve always felt at different times it was political, I’ve always felt it was agenda-based and biased.
“It was not owned by the game. The Immortals were from Rugby League Week, the Dally Ms came from the Daily Mirror and Telegraph newspapers. These were selling tools for media organisations.”
Noting that there’s been condemnation of the individual judges who’ve awarded the votes each match, Gould said that wasn’t fair.
“I’m not criticising the people who gave out the points, because we all look at the game differently,” he explained.
“We all have different attention spans, we all have different things we look for in a game. Sometimes I look at it and shake my head.”
Gould said that recognition from teammates means more than receiving three points in the Dally M voting, casting back to a time when the players voted on the winner of the game ball.
“Players sit in dressing rooms, and the last player to come into the dressing room is the man of the match,” he said.
“Sometimes players are sitting there saying, ‘how did he get it?’
“It’s a joke amongst the players sometimes, about who gets these man of the match awards.”
While Gould and host James Bracey agreed that no system is perfect, the rugby league legend said there was no point getting too worked up about the issue.
“I think you’ve just got to take it for what it is, it’s a promotion for the game, I think it’s a media talking-point, it’s popular amongst fans, like everything else it’s going to have its controversial moments,” he said.
“People are going to disagree, but at the end of the year, can we look at it and say, ‘well the right bloke was player of the year?’
“Maybe he shouldn’t have been, or maybe he should, but a week later who cares?
“That’s my view, it’s just noise in the distance. It’s just another part of the game, it’s not the most important part.”
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