Wighton wins Dally M Medal
Canberra Raiders star Jack Wighton has won the 2020 Dally M Medal, pipping hot favourite Nathan Cleary in a surprise result on Monday night.
Cleary was the short priced favourite with Paramatta Eels captain Clint Gutherson considered his greatest threat, but the Raiders five eighth pipped both of them in a thrilling count that saw just two votes separate the top three.
Wighton won the coveted individual prize with 26 votes, one clear of Gutherson and two from Cleary.
Wighton is the first Raiders player to win it since Laurie Daley in 1995.
It caps a stunning two years for the 27-year-old who was moved from fullback to five-eighth at the start of 2019, and then won the Clive Churchill Medal in last year’s grand final.
“It’s been a very tough year for everyone and the club has been massive down in Canberra, in the bubble and I couldn’t have done it without a better bunch of blokes,” Wighton said.
“I think we’re really building you know, there’s something that’s grown over the last couple of years.
“You can see that in the boys, we’re going the right way.”
Panthers full-back Cleary was left to rue a two game club imposed suspension incurred during the enforced season break, inviting visitors in to his house on Anzac Day in a breach of social distancing rules.
In other awards Cleary's father Ivan was awarded the Dally M Coach of the Year after coaching the Panthers in to their first Grand Final in 17 years, while Captain of the Year went to Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Wests Tigers youngster Harry Grant awarded Rookie of the Year.
IMAGE: NRL website.