QLD State or Origin training at Palmer Resort Coolum.
QLD State or Origin training at Palmer Resort Coolum. Cade Mooney

Barba is tipped to clean up

HE has proven almost impossible to catch on the field, and Canterbury fullback Ben Barba is set to lead his rivals on a merry dance in tonight's Dally M awards.

Barba trailed Storm halfback Cooper Cronk by three votes when voting went behind closed doors after round 16.

At that stage, Cronk had polled 19 votes, two ahead of Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston, Storm fullback Billy Slater and Cowboys fullback Matthew Bowen on 17, with Barba, Broncos halfback Peter Wallace and Souths fullback Greg Inglis on 16. But since then, Barba has been in blistering form and could have produced as many as five best-on-ground performances.

North Queensland pair Thurston and Bowen are likely to have stolen votes from each other, as Cronk and Slater would have done at the Storm.

Inglis has also been in outstanding form in recent weeks but the three match suspension he was given for a high shot on Dragons utility Dean Young in round 20 would have cost him any chance of victory.

A host of other awards will also be announced tonight including the Provan-Summons Medal, top point scorer, top try scorer, Peter Frilingos headline moment, captain of the year, coach of the year, rep player of the year, rookie of the year, Toyota Cup player of the year and player of the year in each position on the field.



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