NRL 2022: Craig Gower blows up over Dally M robbery, Penrith Panthers

Penrith Panthers premiership star Craig Gower has taken to the NRL with a blowtorch as he blew up over the league’s failure to award him the 2003 Dally M.

The NRL didn’t award a winner in 2003 due to industrial action, the year Gower entered as the red-hot favourite to take it out.

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Gower boycott the awards as part of a bid from the Rugby League Players’ Association to improve player wages and conditions.

The Panthers great says he had spoken to the NRL’s head of football elite competitions, Graham Annesley, but said he was told they were unable to confirm if he had indeed won the league’s highest individual honour that year.

“I think it’s dead and buried really,” Gower told SEN Radio.

“From their point of view they can’t determine if I’ve definitely won it, which is a load of sh*t, really.

“Sometimes the powers that be have got their decisions they want to make. I don’t know how they get their information.

“From what I understand, I won it, but I can’t change that. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time.

“It gave the players access, which is good. We’ve got more of a say, which is what we were after.

“At the end of the day I’ll take a grand final win over a Dally M, but it’s certainly a nice accolade to have.”

Brad Fittler has previously lent his support to a campaign to have Gower honoured.

“If he was the player that was leading at the end of the year, and I’m pretty sure he was, it’ll be interesting to see how it all came out towards the end,” he told WWOS in 2020.

“If you want to give it, give it, but I’m not sure Gowie really cares. The fact is it is a nice thing to have and if it’s warranted send it out to him.”

Fittler then revealed how they came to the decision to boycott the Dally M Medal.

“It was well before the end that it was all decided. It was a long time before the end that we all got together,” he said.

“We had a group of 10 players that used to get together and meet and talk about what we need in the game.

“There was all different things thrown up and that was sort of the least of the evils or the least of the impacts that we could have on the game.

“Sure someone misses out on an award, but there was a fair bit done during that period as well.”

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