The Dally M Awards are the official annual player awards for the National Rugby League competition. As well as honouring the player of the year, who received the Dally M Medal, awards are also given to the premier player in each position, the best coach, the best captain, representative player of the year and the most outstanding rookie of the season. The awards are named in honour of former Australianrugby league great Herbert Henry "Dally" Messenger.
The awards were introduced in 1980 by News Limited. Their journalists vote on the best performing players in each match on a 3, 2, 1 points system. The scoress of the voting are visible to the public and media up until Round 16 of the NRL season. In 1998, following the merger of the Super League and the Australian Rugby League (ARL), the awards became the official awards of the newly formed National Rugby League. Prior to 1998, the official award of the game was voted on by the referees and were known as the Rothmans Medal from 1968–1996 and the Nokia Provan-Summons Medal in 1997. Today the Provan-Summons Medal is for the fans' of "people's choice" player of the year.
Between 1980 and 1996, when both the Dally M Medal and Rothmans Medal were awarded, the same player won both awards on only three occasions - Peter Sterling in 1987, Gavin Miller in 1989 and Ricky Stuart in 1993.
In 1997, when the game was split between the News Limited-organized Super League competition and the ARL, News Limited did not hold the awards.
The only other time the awards night has not been held was in 2003, following a dispute with the Rugby League Players Association. After the players had threatened to boycott the event unless the NRL met their demands, the NRL cancelled the Dally M awards two days prior to the ceremony. Craig Gower would have been named player of the year had the awards not been cancelled.