A number of notable and high profile players were conspicuously absent from the 2019 NRL Dally M Awards ceremony of Wednesday night.
While many big names flooded the red carpet at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion in Moore Park, South Sydney Rabbitohs star Tom Burgess, 27, and his model girlfriend Tahlia Giumelli, 25, opted for a date night together instead.
The stunning pair, who only just welcomed their first child Sophie in August, were spotted at Cirque du Soleil in Sydney rather than taking in the glamorous sporting event.
Another big name missing from the ceremony was Melbourne Storm superstar and NRL stalwart Cameron Smith.
Date night! Tom Burgess, 27, (L) and model girlfriend Tahlia Giumelli, 25, (R) looked every inch the glowing new parents as they attend Cirque du Soleil in Sydney on Wednesday night
The 2019 NRL Dally M Awards had some notable and high profile players and personalities caught up in bitter feuds conspicuously absent from the event including Storm captain Cameron Smith (pictured at previous awards night)
Smith may have been the most high profile of the players to miss the awards night, having scooped up a series of awards.
There were reports Smith was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness.
Smith, the second favourite for the top gong, had suffered a viral infection in the days after Saturday’s preliminary final loss to the Sydney Roosters.
He has been told by club doctors not to travel to Sydney with six Melbourne teammates for the awards, and also didn’t attend a team review on Wednesday while quarantined.
The Melbourne veteran has been nominated for two awards, including hooker of the year and the league’s best captain.
Meanwhile, once great friend before turning bitter rival to Smith, Cooper Cronk, was also missing from the event as his team readies for Sunday’s grand final.
Ahead of the Roosters run at back to back premierships the play maker seemed to opt out of attending the awards ceremony.
Both Erin Molan and NRL Immortal Andrew Johns were also missing on the red carpet as their feud continues to make headlines.
Both Erin Molan and NRL Immortal Andrew Johns were also conspicuously missing on the red carpet as their feud continues to make headlines (Johns pictured at Hall of Fame)
Daily Mail Australia reported exclusively on Wednesday the pairs falling out was a result of Johns’ taking issue with Molan’s (pictured) on screen behaviour
Daily Mail Australia reported exclusively on Wednesday the pair’s falling out was a result of Johns’ taking issue with Molan’s on screen behaviour.
Johns told network bosses months ago he no longer wanted to share a studio with Molan and he still felt the same way.
‘He just doesn’t like working with her,’ a television source told Daily Mail Australia.
That source said Johns’s biggest gripes were that Molan giggled and spoke over him and other Nine personalities when they were talking about football.
Another source close to Johns said he did not know when the problems between the pair began but the footballing great would not be backing down.
‘Joey is a stubborn bastard,’ the source said. ‘If somewhere along the line she’s p***ed him off he’ll probably carry it around for the rest of his life.’
Ahead of the Roosters run at back to back grand final wins on Sunday their leading play maker Cooper Cronk was also missing from the red carpet (pictured at past Dally M Awards)
Johns has been frustrated that Nine executives were unwilling during the NRL season to address his concerns about Molan, the first source said.
The feud is now threatening to overshadow the network’s Grand Final coverage with both already missing from the Dally M red carpet.
A Nine spokesman said Molan and Johns would both be on camera for the premiership decider between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders.
‘The story is a News Corp beat-up,’ the spokesman said of the dispute.
‘And I can confirm we will have our full line-up of hosts and commentators as we always do.’
Daily Mail Australia understands Johns point-blank refused requests by the Nine publicity department to put his name to gushing statements supporting Molan.
He also told the network he would not pretend he had no problem with her.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Sydney Roosters and Cooper Cronk’s management team for comment.