Billy Slater has been one of the best products showcased in the origin arena, however, the decision to award him the honourable player of the series is questionable.
The prestigious Wally Lewis medal was determined through a voting panel which included Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley and Darren Lockyer.
His award was met with confusion, playing only two games for a losing side. He was far from the tournaments best, or at least that popular view was not considered in the voting panel.
Former NSW coach Daley was quick to defend himself, blasting critics.
“One thing I do know, and Mal Meninga knows, and Darren Lockyer knows — don’t ever question my integrity, don’t ever question (why) I’m voting because of whatever reason,” he said.
“I always vote because I believe they’re the man of the match.”
Daley said he understands the disappointment of NSW fans that an opposing player won the award.
“I can understand why people are disappointed and blowing up this morning over Billy Slater receiving the Wally Lewis Medal.
“He’s been very good in games two and three and I believe he is the player of the series.
“I can understand the frustration from NSW supporters because we want a NSW player to win.
“But that’s why rugby league is so good, it’s all about opinions and it’s all about following and supporting your team. Some people thought Damien Cook could have been player of the series, some people thought James Tedesco could have been player of the series.
“It’s opinion-based and everyone has their opinion about who should be player of the series.
“I’m happy with my selections.”
In perspective, James Tedesco edged out Slater in every statistic.
|James Tedesco||Billy Slater|
|Line Break Assists||3||2|
Meninga also defended the process of selecting the winner of the award.
“I’m happy with the outcome,” Meninga told The Daily Telegraph. “We have a really good process in place. It’s an independent process with the three judges.
“There is no collusion or conversations around who should get it. It’s purely independent.”
Perhaps, the decision was opinion-based, though it does not come without it’s flaws and backlash from the rugby league community.