Tedesco also topped the charts for linebreaks, tackle busts and average run metres. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco has capped off the best individual season in more than a decade with his maiden Dally M Medal on Wednesday night.
- Tedesco had a total tally of 34 points, which was the highest of any player since 2007
- Dragons centre Jessica Sergis won the title of best female player of the year
- Eels halfback Mitchell Moses finished third while Broncos rookie Payne Haas finished fourth
With Sunday’s grand final still ahead of him, Tedesco held out Cameron Smith in a dramatic final round to claim the NRL’s top gong by three points.
The Roosters superstar finished with a tally of 34 points — the highest of any player since Johnathan Thurston’s 36 in 2007.
“[I] just want to thank the Sydney Roosters club, Nick Robbo, all the staff and of course the players,” he said in his acceptance speech.
“I wouldn’t have had the year I had without you guys and how well our whole team played, it definitely made me look good.”
His win comes after the 26-year-old also claimed the Wally Lewis Medal for the player of the State of Origin series, scoring the match-winning try in the series decider for NSW.
Tedesco topped the charts in the NRL for linebreaks, tackle busts and average run metres.
Tedesco has the chance to win a Dally M and a premiership in the same year. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
He also claimed a career-high 17 tries, as he helped take the Roosters to Sunday’s decider against Canberra.
Tedesco led the count by three points headed into the final round, before he and Smith both polled one each in round 25 to ensure Tedesco’s title.
He will now also have the chance to become just the sixth player in history to win a Dally M and premiership in the same year if the Roosters beat Canberra on Sunday.
In a glittering night for Tedesco at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, he was also the fullback of the year while the Origin-winning try was the Peter Frilingos headline moment of the season.
Sergis shines for the Dragons
St George Illawarra centre Jessica Sergis was the Dally M female player of the year, ahead of her team’s NRLW grand final against Brisbane.
Sergis was crowned with the top individual honour in the Women’s game after helping lead the Dragons to the grand final on Sunday against the Broncos.
The 22-year-old, who represented the Australia Jillaroos in 2017, said she was overwhelmed by the win.
“I’m so honoured and so grateful and I wouldn’t be up here without my Dragons team, my second family [and] my coaching staff,” she said.
“We’ve worked so hard to get into that grand final this Sunday and we’ve got one more week together and one more game.
“I can’t wait to get that premiership.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s category, Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses finished third on 29, while Broncos rookie Payne Haas was fourth on 27 points.
Haas was also named the NRL’s rookie of the year, just months after the powerful forward made his Origin debut for NSW.
Tedesco’s teammate Latrell Mitchell was the centre of the year, Moses was halfback and Smith both the hooker and captain of the year.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy won the coach’s award, after his team took the minor premiership by six points before being bundled out of the finals in week three.