The LU Blog: 11-17 January 2021
5 days ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
It's that time of year again - so from the LeagueUnlimited.com management, staff and volunteers to you and your family & friends - we wish you a very Merry Christmas and holiday season.
Last year we expressed our sorrow at the horrible Black Summer bushfires and all those affected - and hope for a much better 2020. Sadly with the COVID-19 pandemic, that wasn't to be. To all those affected by this horrible virus, you are in our thoughts.
In rugby league it was a tumultuous year. The two elite club competitions - the NRL and Super League, paused for an extended period not long after they'd started in March; while lower tier competitions nearly everywhere were ultimately cancelled.
The Melbourne Storm's domination of the NRL over now a long period continued - they snared their fourth official NRL title with a nailbiting win over minor premiers Penrith, who had an incredible season of their own.
Canberra star Jack Wighton was the Dally M medal winner while Nathan Cleary's outstanding season in the halves for Penrith earned him the RLPA Player's Player. Cleary was also a clear winner in our own LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Year tally. In the Women's game, Ali Brigginshaw was the Dally M medallist while the Player's Champion was Hannah Southwell.
At the end of the season, the "worst Queensland team in the 40 years of Origin" upset the Blues to take out the State of Origin series, ending a short run of NSW dominance. Similarly, the women's side finally jagged a win in the Women's Origin era, finishing victorious at Sunshine Coast Stadium in mid-November.
In Europe, Leeds edged out Salford in a pulsating Challenge Cup final played in October, while St Helens won the most thrilling of Grand Finals against rivals and League Leader's Shield winners Wigan to claim another Super league title. It wasn't all roses and exciting finishes though - the COVID break forced Toronto Wolfpack's withdrawal from the league they'd just been promoted to - and ultimately that leaves the club out of all competitions after just a handful of seasons. The resulting changes mean Leigh have successfully applied to be promoted to the Super League competition in 2021, while Newcastle Thunder are the new team given a bump up to the Championship.
For results, teamsheets and more for just about every game for all the competitions listed above, just click here.
Mercifully, 2021 is nearly upon us and we hope you'll stick with us as we celebrate 20 years of covering everything about rugby league in Australia (and plenty from beyond our own borders too). We'll start seeing some potential pre-season action later in January and into February as the UK clubs look to warm up for a March start.
You can check out draws for any number of competitions for 2021 here.
For those wanting to get amongst it, LeagueUnlimited's 'The Front Row Forums' are there for your enjoyment 24/7. The largest rugby league discussion forums online continue to grow, with the usual debate and frank exchange of views. You can also follow the latest news and match updates on social media with us, so make sure you hit follow along with more than 21,000 footy fans on our Twitter, and join the 4,500+ who like us on Facebook! We've even got an Instagram page now!
As always we can't let Christmas pass us by without thanking the incredible, dedicated contributors, writers and updaters to LU, as well as the moderators and administrators on the Front Row Forums. The website and discussion forums wouldn't continue to be such a success without you all - keep up the tireless and appreciated work you do! A special addition in 2020 was our online program The Front Row - 25 editions of a publication that was well-valued by rugby league fans the world over. Check out all editions here.
If you're interested in joining our writing team, we are always on the lookout for anyone wanting to be part of LeagueUnlimited.com. If you have any offers, suggestions or think you have what it takes to be part of the team, please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A safe and enjoyable holidays to one and all!
- The LeagueUnlimited.com team
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