NRL WAG’s touching Dally M tribute
Jack Wighton's three biggest fans took in every moment as he pulled off a major upset to win the NRL's Dally M Medal.
Well, two out of three.
Wives and girlfriends weren't part of a COVID-impacted awards night on Monday but Wighton's partner Monisha was sharing her excitement on social media throughout the count.
"My heart," she wrote after Wighton edged Clint Gutherson and Nathan Cleary for the award.
She then turned the camera on the couple's eldest daughter, Aaliyah, who nodded when her mum asked her "are you proud of him?"
Monisha then panned to youngest daughter, Ariah, who was fast asleep on the couch.
Earlier, the Canberra Raiders' star's long-term partner posted a touching tribute to the 27-year-old.
"The girls and I are so proud of you and all of your achievements," Monisha wrote.
"Even though you annoy the hell out of me sometimes and I annoy the hell out of you with my constant whinging, you know I'll always have your back and love you.
"The girls and I appreciate you more than you will ever know!"
The Raiders five-eighth was named the NRL's best player after his side was knocked out of the finals last weekend.
Having won the Clive Churchill Medal on a losing team in 2019, Wighton took his game to another level this year to claim league's highest honour.
The result went down to the final round with Wighton, Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson and Panthers half and favourite Nathan Cleary all within two points of each other.
With Wighton not playing in the final round and both the Eels and Panthers winning in round 20, it appeared his one point lead to Gutherson and two point lead to Cleary might not have been enough, but none of the players earned points and the Raiders star took out the mantle of the game's best player.
While Harry Grant was leading the leaderboard when the voting went behind closed doors after round 10, Cleary was just two points back in a crowded ladder as the Panthers went unbeaten for the rest of the season.
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Cleary was strongly favoured to come away with the win ahead of leading his Penrith side into the Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm, but Wighton pulled off the major upset.
"I can't really explain, I'm actually speechless," Wighton said. "Coming here tonight with these guys, I really didn't think I was going to walk away with this award. I don't know what to say."
Wighton praised Ricky Stuart for the "faith he showed to move me into the halves" after lighting up the NRL as a fullback when he first emerged on the scene.
As a proud Wiradjuri man, Wighton was asked what he thought winning the NRL's highest honour meant for First Nations people.
"I always try to be a leader and role model to all the younger kids and just show them and set the example that whatever they put their best foot forward to, they can try and achieve," he said. " I just try to look at it like that."
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Fullback of the Year: Clint Gutherson (Eels)
Wingers of the Year: David Nofoaluma (Tigers) and Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)
Centres of the Year: Kotoni Staggs (Broncos) and Stephen Crichton (Panthers)
Five-Eighth of the Year: Jack Wighton (Raiders)
Halfback of the Year: Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
Props of the Year: Josh Papalii (Raiders) and James Fisher-Harris (Panthers)
Hooker of the Year: Cameron Smith (Storm)
Second rower of the Year: Viliame Kikau (Panthers) and Tohu Harris (Warriors)
Lock of the Year: Isaah Yeo (Panthers)
Dally M Player of the Year: Jack Wighton (Raiders)
Dally M Female Player of the Year: Ali Brigginshaw (Broncos)
Coach of the Year: Ivan Cleary (Panthers)
Provan Summons: New Zealand Warriors
Top Pointscorer: Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)
Rookie of the Year: Harry Grant (Tigers)
Ken Irvine Medalist (Highest tryscorer): Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs)
Peter Frilingos Headline Moment of the Year: Project Apollo
Captain of the Year: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
NRLW Rookie of the Year: Kennedy Cherrington (Roosters)
NRLW Try of the Year: Madison Bartlett (Warriors)
NRLW Tackle of the Year: Hannah Southwell (Roosters)
VB Hard Earned Player of the Year Award: Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles) and Tohu Harris (Warriors)
Try of the Year: Kotoni Staggs (Broncos)
Tackle of the Year: Josh Papalii (Raiders)
Originally published as NRL WAG's touching Dally M tribute