Wiradjuri man Jack Wighton is the first Canberra Raiders player to win the NRL’s Dally M Medal for the league’s best player in 25 years.

In accepting the award on Monday night, Wighton spoke of the pride he felt as a young First Nations man.

“I always try to be a leader and role model to all the younger kids and just show them and set the example that whatever they put their best foot forward to, they can try and achieve,” he said.

But Wighton’s win didn’t come as a surprise. The outcome was leaked by Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph when its website published the results online before the ceremony.

Wighton however, was unaware of the leak, having his phone taken from him previous to filming.

The Daily Telegraph’s sports editor-at-large, Phil Rothfield, apologised for the leak on Twitter.

“The Daily Telegraph website accidentally published the winner of the Dally M award before the official announcement tonight,” he said.

“We apologise sincerely for the mistake.”

By Darby Ingram