Around Australia, plenty of passionate NRL fans young and old will be receiving Christmas gifts related to the club they support, from stubby holders to pencil cases, Hawaiian shirts to calendars and everything in-between.

But after the initial excitement has faded, you might glance at your Wests Tigers 2023 calendar and realise… it features Jackson Hastings and Tyrone Peachey, who have both left the club in recent months. Meanwhile, your Gold Coast Titans one features Corey Thompson, who announced his retirement in September and won't even be playing.

Raiders fans will be surprised when they (spoiler alert) get to May and see Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who hasn't played NRL since July and has left for the Warriors, while the Bulldogs' 2023 calendar also features the recently retired Josh Jackson.

In total it appears seven clubs are selling merchandise featuring players no longer employed by the organisation, with the Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys and New Zealand Warriors also included.

It's certainly not a new issue, and it was even leapt upon by the Daily Telegraph over a month ago, but no one has sought to investigate the editorial process that leads to these seemingly-glaring errors every single year.

A representative from UMCO (Universal Media) was happy to explain the production process when contacted by Zero Tackle.

"The calendars are produced as official licensed products of the NRL. All player lists, images and copy are approved by each club and the NRL 4-step approval process.

They are designed and approved in May and sent to print in June for distribution by August/September.

These timelines are designed to meet the Father's Day gifting demand and have them in store in time for the peak calendar sales period, which begins in September.

We, the clubs and the NRL are aware of the challenges of this early production timeline which all takes place well before the official trading season begins and so we take as much care as possible with the player selection but accept that sometimes the players may change.

In the end, we have to balance this risk in proportion to the importance of the calendars as a long-standing and popular way for fans to engage with their club throughout the year.

Given that the calendars will be used until the end of December 2023, many changes out of anyone's control will take place over the next 12 months and we feel the fans largely know that, value the calendars as a club item, and take this in their stride."

So the next time you want to complain about players announcing that they'll be joining a new club while still having a year to play at their current employer, take comfort in the knowledge that those announcements help ensure as many accurate calendars as possible for the new year.

Merry Christmas!