Panthers great Craig Gower fumes over Dally M Snub

Penrith great Craig Gower has taken aim at the NRL’s decision to not retrospectively award him the 2003 Dally M medal.

At the time, Gower was favourite to be named the NRL’s best and fairest but chose to boycott the awards as part of a protest to improve wages and conditions for players.

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Even though Gower had spoken to NRL’s head of football elite competitions, Graham Annesley about the issue, he says he was told they were unable to confirm Gower had won the medal.

“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 shit, 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.”

The protest was over a new collective bargaining agreement that included player wages, minimum salaries, intellectual property rights and insurance issues.

An agreement was reached later that year.

Gower, who was a RLPA club delegate, led the Dally M Medal count by one point from Roosters great Brad Fittler and Canberra Raiders fullback Clinton Schifcofske heading into the final round.

In the last regular season game, he starred for Penrith in a 40-22 victory over Parramatta that won him Nine’s man-of-the-match award.

However no votes were recorded for the final round of the competition because of the boycott.

Gower had a strong game in the victory where he scored a try, had eight runs for 74 metres and made three tackle busts.

Fittler’s Sydney Roosters team beat Shifcoske’s Raiders 23-16 on the same weekend.

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