By W D Nicolson
As the National Rugby League enters its Semi Finals Series, it is time for the second annual NRL Tweet Player of the Year Awards.
And we're breaking out our champion a full 24 hours before the Dally M's.
This year - Benji Marshall of the Wests Tigers was the victor - topping 83 Votes after 26 Rounds to finish 20 Votes clear of his nearest rival Cooper Cronk from the Melbourne Storm on 63 and Johnathan Thurston on 61.
You can listen to the Awards Show via Podcast on Tuesday September 6th via iTunes.
Right Click Save Target As This Link if you don't have iTunes.
2011 Rookie of the Year - Daly Cherry-Evans.
We have changed the criteria to match that of the Dally M's (no more than 3 NRL games the previous season) to avoid confusion.
Winner: Daly Cherry-Evans, Sea Eagles with 46 Votes.
1st Runner Up: Gareth Widdop, Storm with 32 Votes.
2nd Runner Up: Sam Williams, Raiders; Jack Reed, Broncos; Will Hopoate, Sea Eagles tied with 15 Votes.
2011 Representative Player of the Year - Matthew Scott and Billy Slater.
The player with the most combined State of Origin and ANZAC Test Match Votes.
Winner: Matthew Scott, AUS+QLD and Billy Slater, AUS+QLD with 12 Votes.
1st Runner Up: Paul Gallen, AUS+NSW with 11 Votes.
2nd Runner Up: Cameron Smith, AUS+QLD with 9 Votes.
2011 Team of the Year -
A 17 Man Squad, featuring 13 starting positions and a bench made up of any position according to their total votes and a player can earn votes in any position but must play at least 4 games in the position he 'wins'.
Fullback: Billy Slater, Storm with 51 Votes.
Wingers: Akuila Uate, Knights with 30 Votes and Kevin Locke, Warriors with 27 Votes.
Centres: Mark Gasnier, Dragons with 30 Votes and Jamie Lyon, Sea Eagles with 21 Votes.
Five-Eighth: Benji Marshall, Tigers with 83 Votes.
Halfback: Cooper Cronk, Storm with 63 Votes.
Front Rowers: Petero Civoniceva, Panthers with 25 Votes and Aiden Tolman, Bulldogs with 21 Votes.
Hooker: Cameron Smith, Storm with 51 Votes.
Second Rowers: Dave Taylor, Rabbitohs with 35 Votes and Nathan Hindmarsh, Eels with 34 Votes.
Lock Forward: Paul Gallen, Sharks with 54 Votes.
Bench: Johnathan Thurston, Cowboys with 61 Votes.
Bench: Matthew Bowen, Cowboys with 51 Votes.
Bench: Chris Sandow, Rabbitohs with 51 Votes.
Bench: Ben Barba, Bulldogs with 48 Votes.
2011 Mr Consistency - Billy Slater.
Awarded to the player with the most number of games gaining at least one vote.
Winner: Billy Slater, Storm with 16 Games with Votes.
1st Runner Up: Benji Marshall, Tigers with 15 Games of Votes.
2nd Runner Up: Cameron Smith, Storm and Daly Cherry-Evans with 14 Games of Votes.
2011 NRL Game Breaker - Benji Marshall, Cooper Cronk and Paul Gallen.
Awarded to the player with the most number of Man of the Match scores of 8 (that is awarded the maximum 4 votes by both voters.)
Winner: Benji Marshall, Tigers; Cooper Cronk, Storm and Paul Gallen, Sharks with 5 Games of Super 8s.
1st Runner Up: Johnathan Thurston, Cowboys and Ben Barba, Bulldogs with 4 Games of Super 8s.
2nd Runner Up: Billy Slater, Storm and Jarrod Mullen, Knights with 3 Games of Super 8s.
2011 NRL Tweet Player of the Year Award
Benji Marshall with 83 Votes.
Awarded to the player with the most Total Votes after 26 Rounds (tiebreakers are Game-Breaker Games, Games with 4+ Votes and then Games with Votes)
Winner: Benji Marshall, Tigers with 83 Votes.
1st Runner Up: Cooper Cronk, Storm with 63 Votes.
2nd Runner Up: Johnathan Thurston, Cowboys with 61 Votes.
This is how the voting finished over the final 9 weeks. Full Season Voting available in the end of season annual. (click to enlarge)
Thanks to all our regular voters for their efforts during the regular season.
They included: Benjamin Hoese, Greg Delaney, Craig Buchanan, Dane Neville, Haylen Southon, Justin Davies, Maria Tsialis, Matthew Duncan, Matt Spillane, Matthew Vickers, Michael McLucas, Nigel Wilbow, Rob Neilsen and Warrick Nicolson.
You can read their Round by Round Voting Summaries for 2011 here and just click on the corresponding Round Results Blog link.
You can find the NRL Finals Week 1 Schedule here.
There will be a new winner in 2011, with last year's victor Todd Carney not exactly replicating his performance from 2010 and he will end the season with an uncertain future (again).
The good news is a number of players have backed up their 2010 form to be in contention for the 2011 Award and they are joined by a host of fresh faces in the race for not only the Overall Player of the Year Award but the various categories on offer.
The Podcast version will be released Tuesday September 6th on itunes.
NOT The Footy Show Episode 81 - LIVE
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