Young Wests Tigers rake Harry Grant has received a lot of praise in the media this week after it was revealed he currently sits outright second on the Dally M medal leaderboard with 10 votes. The praise is very much deserved, because the 22-year-old has been exceptional.
He sits one vote behind North Queensland Cowboys wrecking-ball, Jason Taumalolo.
Taumalolo hasn’t received any praise for leading the Dally M count after seven rounds and it is hardly a surprise, because we all know what to expect from him. He also missed a game a game due to injury.
But what is most impressive about Taumalolo, is his consistency rarely ever wavers.
His one poor performance came against the Warriors in round five, when he ran for an abysmal 137 metres. That is abysmal by Taumalolo’s standards, when you consider his average running metres after seven rounds is 252. Any other forward in the competition would be happy with 137 running metres.
One of the advantages Taumalolo has, is the fact that he’s easily the Cowboys best player so when they win, it would take a huge performance from someone else to edge out their lock forward for the maximum three Dally M votes.
Taumalolo has polled votes in five of the six games he has played but what is most incredible about his accumulation of votes thus far, is the two he received in the Cowboys round six flogging at the hands of the Tigers.
How does a player in a team who trailed 34-nill at halftime poll two votes? Well, he still ran for whopping 259 metres in a badly beaten side.Embed from Getty Images
It could be the difference between him and players like Harry Grant, is that consistency which enables him to poll votes when his side loses.
Grant is only seven games in to his career and it will be interesting to see if he can continue performing at the same level he is at now for the remainder of this shortened, but uninterrupted and grueling season.
With Manly’s Tom Trbojevic (9), Benji Marshall (6), Mitch Moses (6) Victor Radlee (6) and Cameron Munster (6) either out injured or have been dropped, the likes of Nathan Cleary (9), Clint Gutherson (9) and Shaun Johnson (8) are snapping at the heels of Taumalolo, but their accumulation of votes will likely depend on their sides playing well and winning games.
Out of those names, Nathan Cleary looks the most likely as he and his Panthers are in-form and looking to push for a top four finish.
Current Dally M medalist James Tedesco (7) is the other who could challenge Taumalolo as long as keeps fit and keeps his temperature down, his side will likely win a lot more games than they will lose, but the Roosters have many more star players in their side who could steal votes from Tedesco, even if he plays well.
Jack Wighton, Luke Keary and Josh Hodgson, all with six votes are in the hunt as well, but will need to string a few dominant performances together to poll votes.
Perhaps the biggest threat to Taumalolo claiming a second Dally M medal, is injury or suspension and if the Cowboys can rack up a few more wins or better yet, qualify for the finals, the Dally M medal could be a forgone conclusion.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Jason Taumalolo on Facebook