The NRL’s night of nights, the Dally M Awards to recognise the season’s best players, turned farcical overnight after News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph accidentally published the winner three hours before the announcement.
Just as players were gathering for the Awards, The Tele published an online story from its chief league scribe Phil “Buzz” Rothfield with a headline that read: “Dally M drama: System needs an urgent overhaul”. The final vote ladder, which showed the Raider’s Jack Wighton on top with 26 votes was also published before being quickly taken down.
However, the damage was done and the results soon started circulating across social media.
Rothfield immediately took to Twitter to explain, describing the clanger as a “production error”.
“Owing to a production error that was out of my control, The Daily Telegraph website accidentally published the winner of the Dally M award before the official announcement tonight. We apologise sincerely for the mistake,” Rothfield’s tweet read.
This morning, The Tele’s editor Ben English also issued an apology during an appearance on 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
“This was a scoop I would be happy not to be talking to you about,” English said. “We stuffed up, all we can say is that we are sorry.”
Apparently, the players were unaware of the incident, as they were required to turn their phones off due to the TV broadcaster.
Winner Wighton telling Today this morning: “It was halfway through they came and took our phones and no-one really knew what was going on.
“After, they told us that there was a leak. But we didn’t know too much while we were sitting in the room.”
NRL chiefs have confirmed there will be an investigation into the leak.
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