Thu, Aug 30, 11:02am by Staff Writer
It appears a race in three for the 2018 Dally M Medal, with Damien Cook and Roger Tuisvasa-Sheck joint favourites at $3.25 at Sportsbet.
Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga has led the market for a number of weeks, but after missing games through injury has slipped to a $3.50 shot.
It’s been an incredible rise for Damien Cook, after he was discarded by the Canterbury Bulldogs two seasons ago.
The Souths dummy half represented New South Wales this season and was a pivotal part of their spine which clinched the State of Origin series.
South Sydney will finish in the top four this season and look primed for a deep run in the finals.
He has had six try assists and made 912 tackles this season. Where Cook has really improved is in his running game. He is averaging nearly double the number of run metres per game (106.97m) this season compared to 2017 (58.70m).
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was an elite talent for the Sydney Roosters before crossing to the New Zealand Warriors, where he has drifted off the radar in recent times.
After sustaining an ACL injury, the Warriors captain has had a superb season, steering them to a finals berth in 2018.
Tuivasa-Sheck has nine try assists this season and averages 174 run metres per game from the full back position. He also makes more than four tackle busts per game.
Kalyn Ponga’s first season in Newcastle colours has been a successful one. The 20-year-old has played predominately at full back, but chipped in at five-eighth and halfback at times, due to the absence of Connor Watson and Mitchell Pearce.
He has scored six tries this season, but given 14 try assists, with his combination with second rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon at times unstoppable. He is in the top three in the National Rugby League for tackle busts with 108 this season.
Cronulla full back Valentine Holmes has scored 20 tries ahead of the final round of the season and has warned to the number one jersey as the season progressed.
He has been pivotal to the Sharks’ rise up the ladder this season and recently took up the teams goalkicking duties.
Holmes has more run metres and line breaks than any other player in the Sharks side.
He is priced at $11 to win the Dally M Medal, with his Sharks team mate Andrew Fifita a $26 shot.
Wests Tigers half back Luke Brooks has enjoyed a career-best season and after starting the season brilliantly, he picked up plenty of points.
As the season has worn on, Wests’ fortunes have declined and Brooks has been overshadowed by the pairing of Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall. He is a $15 chance to win the Dally M medal this season.
Dally M Medal Odds – Sportsbet
Damien Cook $3.25
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck $3.25
Kalyn Ponga $3.50
Valentine Holmes $11
Luke Brooks $15
Andrew Fifita $26
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