A tense Dally M count went down to the wire with New Zealand Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck finishing over the top of young star Kalyn Ponga to claim the honour.

He becomes the first ever player from the Warriors to claim the prize and did so with 29 votes after polling three in the final round of the season.

A stellar season from the Warriors leader was capped with not only the Dally M award, but also the Fullback of the Year award.

Read David Skipwith's full report of the Dally M Awards here


In a sign of the changing times, none of the top five — which also included Luke Brooks and Mitchell Pearce — have previously polled in the top five positions at the Dally Ms during their career.

He became the first fullback to win the award since Ben Barba in 2012, as he averaged 167 metres a match and busted through a total of 92 tackles.

Dally M Award winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the New Zealand Warriors receives a hongi from team mate Issac Luke. Photo / Getty
Dally M Award winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the New Zealand Warriors receives a hongi from team mate Issac Luke. Photo / Getty

The highlight of the night however came after Tuivasa-Sheck had collected his Dally M trophy and lined up alongside the team of the year.

As a round of applause broke out for the players on the podium, Tuivasa-Sheck's teammates Issac Luke, Jazz Tevaga and Jordan Rapana stood in the middle of the room and pulled out an impromptu haka.

The incredible moment had the skipper fighting back tears and left every person in attendance and watching on with goosebumps.

"This is crazy," said an emotional Tuivasa-Sheck after accepting his trophy and medal.

"I remember the first time we came to these awards on 2013 and Cooper Cronk won that Dally M award.

"I remember sitting there thinking 'it would be a dream to win that award' and not knowing that day would ever come.


"I'm just feeling truly blessed to be standing up here holding this trophy and wearing this medal."

Recognition for the Kiwi international comes after he scored three tries, and made eight try assists in 22 appearances throughout the regular season.

The 2013 Winger of the Year award and the 2015 Fullback of the Year also made 112 tackle breaks, and 13 line breaks, while he also ranked second for kick return metres with 1,366 and was third for run metres with 4,109, averaging 178.4 metres per game.

Tuivasa-Sheck spoke with emotion as he thanked his family and parents for their "constant love and support and for always keeping me grounded" before also paying tribute to his Warriors teammates, coaching staff and management, along with his fiancée Ashley Walker.