Sunday 22 October 2017 / 12:08 PM

SIX UP THE MIDDLE: 2017 AWARD PREDICTIONS

The season still has another five weeks to run but the engravers should already be etching these names into the Dally M trophies.

Player of the Year

Cameron Smith’s injury looked to put his Dally M Medal win in doubt, but he incredibly still turned out for Melbourne on Sunday and there is no question at all he has been the best player on the best team. He continues to get better with age and could play well upwards of 450 games if he wanted. Gareth Widdop has had a quality year for the Dragons and could cause the upset.

Coach of the Year

Craig Bellamy is the best coach in the NRL, period, and should win this award virtually every year. The Storm have somehow improved their depth even after making the grand final last year. An argument can be made for Trent Barrett, though, with Manly the biggest overachievers in 2017.

Rookie of the Year

Nick Cotric has been a shining light on a very ordinary Raiders team this year. He runs hard and with conviction, and has certainly displayed more maturity than his 18 years would suggest. A star of the future. Jayden Brailey had a strong start to the year for the Sharks before an injury ended his campaign early.

Captain of the Year

Boyd Cordner has done an excellent job as leader of both the Sydney Roosters and New South Wales. He is a follow-me-type who has played through injury and in top-class form. Of course, this award should pretty much just go to Cameron Smith every season.

Rep Player of the Year

This award is wide open. Matt Gillett was Australia’s best in the Anzac Test but Dane Gagai was arguably the best of the Maroons players across the three Origin matches, helping to turn the series. Should have gone close to man-of-the-match honours in game two. Jake Trbojevic would be a strong smoky.

Top Tryscorer

Alex Johnston currently leads the way with 16 after a five-try haul against Penrith but it is hard to see him holding out Suliasi Vunivalu (15), who won the award last year. Vunivalu is a tryscoring freak, while wing partner Josh Addo-Carr (14) is more than capable of surging to take out the title.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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