Who would have thought that when the 2020 fixture was released that this was how the year would have ended up?
Teams in hubs. A halfback banned for a dance video. A coach sidelined for grabbing dinner. The Warriors calling Tamworth and not Auckland home.
Due to arrival of an unforeseen and, as of yet, untameable virus, the game, like the rest of the world, was forced to make compromises.
With these changes came a fresh batch of terms to enter the Rugby League lexicon, as well as the array of previously unthought of headlines that appeared on mastheads everywhere.
So despite a season that provided challenges for everyone involved in the game, it has also supplied many moments (both good and bad) that will live long in our memories.
Here are the top 10 headlines from a season unlike any before it.
10. The return of SBW
The jungle drums had been beating for some time, but when the Roosters found themselves missing 11 of their top 17 names, the whispers wound up becoming fact.
The return of Sonny Bill Williams to Bondi was on.
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) September 25, 2020
At most, the 35-year-old’s comeback certainly whipped League fans into a furor. At mildest, individual’s interest was piqued.
Could he still break a game open with bullocking line break? Just how many points would the Chooks post with his trademark offloads now back on the menu? How good would the dual code champion be with the implementation of set restarts?
In his five appearances for the tri-colours, we quickly found the answers to our queries – no, not many and not very.
Across this sample size, Williams made just 53 runs with zero linebreaks. He gained only 404 metres and contributed just 9 offloads. All of this came without adding a single point to Sydney’s half of the scoreboard.
Williams’ handful of games may not have help deliver Sydney a third Premiership in succession, however, it did allow fans of the game to finally see that SBW was indeed mortal.