Reigning Dally M medallist Johnathan Thurston will not attend the awards ceremony he is tipped to win after North Queensland decided to withdraw the star halfback due to a groin injury.
The three-time winner of the Dally M award is the favourite to take out the NRL's best and fairest -- he was leading the Dally M points tally when voting went behind closed doors after round 16.
But the Cowboys want to avoid having Thurston subjected to four days of air travel in five days.
Sydney's Star Casino will host the ceremony on Monday night, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull presenting the Dally M Medal to the winner.
The 32-year old will remain in Townsville to recover from a calf injury and a groin issue that was aggravated during the Cowboys' preliminary final win over Melbourne Storm.
Thurston and NFL convert Jarryd Hayne were awarded joint winners of the Dally M in 2014.
"The most important thing that's on next week is the game (grand final)," coach Paul Green said after Saturday night's preliminary final victory.
It is believed Thurston will appear via a video link .