Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has capped the Vodafone Warriors' most successful Dally M Awards in history - four awards in all - by becoming the club's first player to win the coveted Dally M Medal.
Tuivasa-Sheck, with his proud and nervous father alongside him, topped the tally in a dramatic final round of voting, edging out Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks’ Valentine Holmes.
None of the top five players on the final leaderboard – Tuivasa-Sheck, Ponga, Holmes, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Pearce - had won the Dally M Medal previously.
Tuivasa-Sheck polled 29 points in a glittering ceremony at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, overtaking Ponga (27) in the final round with three points he received from the club's final regular season match against Canberra, the night the Vodafone Warriors won 20-16 in Simon Mannering's 300th NRL appearance. Just four points separated the top four players in the final voting.
Tuivasa-Sheck therefore also claimed the Fullback of the Year position in the 2018 Dally M Team of the Year while team-mate Jazz Tevaga was named Interchange Player of the Year.
There were spine-tingling scenes after Tuivasa-Sheck was crowned as his club mates Issac Luke and Tevaga, supported by Canberra's Kiwi international Jordan Rapana, rose to their feet to perform a haka for Tuivasa-Sheck.
The Vodafone Warriors' Player of the Year finished the regular season with a total of 4058 metres, averaging 184 metres a game including 1093 post-contact metres. In the 23rd-round clash against Newcastle, he made 338 metres. He was first among all players for most kick return metres (1330) and fifth for most tackle breaks (109).
Tuivasa-Sheck was a finalist for the Captain of the Year while the club's other finalists were Issac Luke (Hooker of the Year), Tohu Harris (Second Rower of the Year), David Fusitu'a (Winger of the Year) and Krystal Rota (Dally M Medal Women's Player of the Year). Fusitu'a was also presented with the inaugural Ken Irvine Medal as the top try scorer (22 tries) in the regular season.
Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith, just days away from his third consecutive grand final, was awarded Captain of the Year honours, while his team-mate Cameron Munster won Five-Eighth of the Year.
Blake Ferguson from the Sydney Roosters, who will oppose the Storm on Sunday at ANZ Stadium, took out Winger of the Year honours.
South Sydney's Anthony Seibold won Coach of the Year, while the prestigious Provan Summons People’s Choice award was won by Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook, who also won Hooker of the Year.
The Rookie of the Year award was taken out by Brisbane's Kiwi international Jamayne Isaako, while the Dally M Female Player of the Year was Brisbane's Brittany Breayley.
The Ken Stephen Medal was also awarded during the ceremony to Gold Coast Titans captain Ryan James.
“This is a night we can celebrate the incredible feats of our players,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said during the ceremony.
“Our players are the reason we have seen crowds, ratings and memberships increase this year.
“Our players played such a key role in the rise in participation this year – because young girls and boys want to be like them.”
In a special presentation, former St George player Steve Morris was officially added to the record books as the first recipient of the Dally M Medal.
Morris was awarded a Dally M Medal in 1979, but until tonight was never acknowledged as a Dally M Medal winner.
“Steve has never been recognised since,” Mr Greenberg said. “But our records will be updated to show that he won the first Dally M Medal.”
2018 DALLY M AWARDS | WINNERS
Dally M Player of the Year | Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Vodafone Warriors)
Captain of the Year | Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)
Coach of the Year | Anthony Seibold (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Peter Moore Award for Rookie of the Year | Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos)
Fullback of the Year | Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
Winger of the Year | Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters)
Centre of the Year | Joseph Leilua (Canberra Raiders)
Five-eighth of the Year | Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
Halfback of the Year | Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers)
Lock of the Year | Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
Second Rower of the Year | Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Prop of the Year | Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
Hooker of the Year | Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Interchange Player of the Year | Jazz Tevaga (Vodafone Warriors)
Top Points Scorer | Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos)
Top Try Scorer (Ken Irvine Medal) | David Fusitu’a (Vodafone Warriors)
Provan Summons People’s Choice Medal | Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Female Player of the Year | Brittany Breayley (Brisbane Broncos)
Peter Frilingos Headline Moment | Holden Women’s State of Origin
Ken Stephen Medal | Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
DALLY M MEDAL | ROLL OF HONOUR
2018: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Vodafone Warriors)
2017: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)
2016: Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm) and Jason Taumololo (North Queensland Cowboys)
2015: Johnathan Thurston (North Qld Cowboys)
2014: Johnathan Thurston (North Qld Cowboys) and Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
2013: Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)
2012: Ben Barba (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
2011: Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
2010: Todd Carney (Sydney Roosters)
2009: Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
2008: Matt Orford (Manly Sea Eagles)
2007: Johnathan Thurston (North Qld Cowboys)
2006: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)
2005: Johnathan Thurston (North Qld Cowboys)
2004: Danny Buderus (Newcastle Knights)
2003: Not awarded
2002: Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights)
2001: Preston Campbell (Cronulla Sharks)
2000: Trent Barrett (St George Illawarra Dragons)
1999: Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights)
1998: Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights)
1997: Not awarded
1996: Allan Langer (Brisbane Broncos)
1995: Laurie Daley (Canberra Raiders)
1994: Cliff Lyons (Manly Sea Eagles)
1993: Ricky Stuart (Canberra Raiders)
1992: Gary Freeman (Eastern Suburbs Roosters)
1991: Michael Potter (St George Dragons)
1990: Cliff Lyons (Manly Sea Eagles)
1989: Gavin Miller (Cronulla Sharks)
1988: Gavin Miller (Cronulla Sharks)
1987: Peter Sterling (Parramatta Eels)
1986: Peter Sterling (Parramatta Eels)
1985: Greg Alexander (Penrith Panthers)
1984: Michael Potter (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
1983: Terry Lamb (Western Suburbs Magpies)
1982: Ray Price (Parramatta Eels)
1981: Steve Rogers (Cronulla Sharks)
1980: Robert Laurie (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
1979: Steve Morris (St George Dragons)