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    The NRLs best team for 2016 will be decided in Sundays Grand Final, but who has been the best player?Votes went secret after round 16, since when ESPN has taken a closer look to see who will win the Dally M Medal. Adrian Gonzalez Jersey . It is the most prestigious individual honour in the NRL but history suggests it might be seen as a positive omen NOT to win the medal. Only three players in the past 30 years,have the medal and premiership in the same year: Parramattas Peter Sterling in 1986, Manlys Matt Orford in 2008, and North Queenslands Johnathan Thurston in 2015.1. Cooper Cronk (Storm)The latest member of the 300-game club shows no signs of slowing down, no sign of complacency and no sign of letting his high standards slip.Cronk has been one of the NRLs biggest success stories since he arrived at Melbourne as a utility player before a lack of options saw him thrown in at halfback when Matt Orford left the Storm for Manly.Incredibly, the 32-year-old started the year as a $34 long shot to claim a second Dally M medal, but his excellent form saw him claim outright favouritism with UBET, at a very short $4, when votes went behind closed doors.2. Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)Debate might rage as to whether Johnathan Thurston is the greatest rugby league player of all time, but the North Queensland captain is certainly without peer judged on Dally M medals.Among Thurstons seemingly endless list of achievements is an incredible FOUR Dally M medals -- putting him alone at the top of the list of multiple winners, one ahead of Andrew Johns, Peter Sterling and Gavin Miller.JT started the 2016 season as UBETs $6 favourite to claim his fifth medal, but he found himself relegated to the second line of betting when votes went secret after round 16, despite firming in to $5.3. Cameron Smith (Storm)Cameron Smith, like his Storm teammate Cooper Cronk, is looking for his second Dally M medal -- 10 years after he was awarded his first.Smith is the most intelligent player in the NRL, the games best schemer, and there is no smarter organiser in rugby league when it comes to executing a game plan and sticking to team structures.If he were at any other club, and didnt have to compete with the likes of Cronk, Billy Slater and Jesse Bromwich for Dally M points, he would probably already have won the award more than once.Smith also started the season at a generous $34 with UBET, but he closed to $7 third favourite after round 16.4. Josh Hodgson (Raiders)Josh Hodgson was a major factor behind Canberras impressive 2016 NRL season, and the first two weeks of the finals showed his importance to the Raiders. They lost after he left the field with an ankle in jury against Cronulla in Week 1, but the Raiders regained form and confidence when he returned against Penrith a week later.Since the Dally M Medal was introduced in 1980, no Englishman has ever won the award but Hodgson will go as close as any before him.The 26-year-old started the year as a $15 outside chance but went into closed votes on the fourth line of betting at $8 -- and his form has only improved since.Smokey - Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)The Cowboys other JT could become the first running forward to win the Dally M since Cronullas Gavin Miller in 1989.?Taumalolo wont be favourite, but he is a genuine smokey; he is arguably the NRLs most explosive and hard-running forward with mesmerising footwork and superhuman strength, and he has been at the top of his game this season.And it isnt just NRL fans who have taken notice, with the 23-year-old reportedly catching the eye of several NFL franchises; Taumalolo has already stated an interest in the possibility of becoming the next NRL star to try his luck in the USA.The Cowboys back-rower was a healthy $13 with UBET when voting went secret.Brett Kimmorley says:Who I think will win: Cooper CronkCooper Cronk has been the mastermind behind the Melbourne Storm this season. He has Cameron Smith there, too, but I think Cronk has led the team around brilliantly and been their main man in 2016.Who Id like to win: Josh HodgsonJosh Hodgson could become the first Englishman to win the Dally M and I would love to see him do it. He has been a sensation for the Raiders, and I think it would be a great thing to grow the game internationally.Other notablesRyan James (Titans)Andrew Fifita (Sharks)Michael Ennis (Sharks)Darius Boyd (Broncos)Ben Barba (Sharks) Cody Bellinger Jersey . Nine days before the opening ceremony, organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said Wednesday that Sochi is "fully ready" and will deliver safe, friendly and well-run games that defy the grim reports that have overshadowed preparations. Kenley Jansen Jersey . -- Charlie Graham stopped 67 shots as the Belleville Bulls edged the visiting Guelph Storm 6-5 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. http://www.baseballdodgersprostore.com/dodgers-brandon-morrow-jersey/ ;. Roman Josi had a goal and an assist to lead the Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday night.It was 25 years ago that Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings from the Edmonton Oilers - and stunted one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history. To many, that seems like the distant past. But to others... "It goes fast," Peter Berg, the acclaimed filmmaker and director of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Kings Ransom told TSN.ca this week. Berg - a self-professed life-long hockey fan - recalls the details of hearing about the trade vividly. "I was actually in Paris and I had just booked an acting job," he said. "A friend woke me up and said ‘Weve got Gretzky. And then he said, ‘We gotta buy season tickets." "I said: ‘We have to buy season tickets? and then I realized that I had to buy them. So I took all the money I made on that film and bought season tickets - because we had Gretzky." The trade turned the franchise on a dime, as Berg remembered the Kings prior to Gretzkys arrival. "They were just kind of a wonderful mess, he said. "I think they averaged a few thousand people per game and we used to go to all the games, because we could afford - for five bucks - to get a ticket." It was kind of like we had a junior team wearing NHL uniforms. Occasionally wed win and occasionally something exciting would happen." And afterwards? "When that trade happened that was exciting," Berg explained."That was the beginning of (Kings owner) Bruce McNalls desire to turn things around." The Kings morphed within the span of a year, becoming a hot spot for Hollywoods elite to coincide with the arrival of the biggest name in hockey. Kings Ransoms archival footage reveals a whos who of the late-1980s elite clamouring to get a look at The Great One: Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Sylvester Stallone along with Canadian-born celebs like John Candy and Michael J. Fox. Even U.S. President Ronald Reagan dropped in. "It went from being kind of pathetic to - once Bruce McNall came in - things started to get turned up," said Berg. "The Kings had an owner that was not going to accept the status quo. He was going to figure out a way to shake things up and he sure did." But what about the City of Edmonton? Therein lies the greatest question left lingering by Bergs film and one that is inevitably addressed by Gretzky himself. Gretzky and Berg traded swings on an L.A.-area golf course and Berg asked flat out: "How many Cups could you have won, had you stayed in Edmonton?" "Ummm, I dont know," Gretzky paused. "The team was good enough maybe I wouldve won four more?" So how does a city move on from the possibility of doubling down on what was already one of the greatest teams of all-time? "When you think about the dynasty that was broken up in Edmonton, you cant help but shake your head and wonder," Berg recalled. "Yeah, the trade did a lot and it opened up hockey in the southwest of the U. Yasmani Grandal Jersey. .S. Yes, Wayne is a great ambassador for the sport and yes, his move to L.A. helped make the sport a bit more popular in America. But he never won another Cup and he broke up arguably one of the greatest dynasties in the history of professional sports." But when faced with the question of why the move had to be made, that is where Bergs narrative veers from what has traditionally been accepted as fact in Edmonton, Canada and many other hockey circles.Just about every story thats been told indicated that Oilers owner Peter Pocklington made the move out of the need to get a monetary return for his greatest asset and partially out of frustration with the sheer size of Gretzkys on- and off-ice persona. And in the end, there sat Gretzky, struggling through his tears, saying goodbye to Edmonton. In Bergs conversations with Gretzky it became clearer to the filmmaker that Gretzky was less a victim of the shrewd business tactics of Pocklington and McNall and more a willing participant in the greatest collective turn of fortune in hockey history. "I think the fact that his wife was from there was certainly a factor," he told TSN.ca. "I think the money was a factor and I think that at the end of the day the chance to do it again with another franchise was a chance to take on a new and more epic challenge," Berg said. "I think all of those factors contributed to Waynes decision." But also factoring in was Gretzkys pending free agency and the fact that at least preliminary discussions about a trade had taken place prior to Gretzky hoisting his fourth Stanley Cup with the Oilers. And Gretzky was candid about his reaction to hearing about such discussions. "I was mad they were trying to trade me," he told Berg in Kings Ransom.  "So, I left." As for Pocklington, Berg was loath to paint him with the brush of villainy that immediately followed news of the trade. "Look at the reality of what kind of dynasty was broken up," Berg said. "I would imagine Pocklington knew what was happening and he knew that while - yes, he was making some cash - he was also aware of what kind of injury he was causing to his team and to his franchise." In the end, the injuries would go both ways. Gretzky retired without ever again hoisting hockeys top prize and Edmonton - despite the Oilers capturing the Cup once more in 1990 - would soon watch their empire get dismantled piece-by-piece and endure a championship drought that extends to the present day. The cost was high. But in the end, it was one that was paid out on both sides. "[Gretzky] was flat out about it," explained Berg. "He said, ‘I think about it every day, and wiped a tear out of his eye. I can imagine that every time he and Mark Messier get together, theres not a moment where they dont look into each other and kind of wonder what might have been." Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Jerseys NFL Cheap Wholesale Authentic JerseysNFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Authentic Jerseys ' ' '
      April 5, 2018 7:53 AM MDT
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