Wests Tigers threatened to finally break their nine-year finals drought, but the familiar 'so near, yet so far' storyline played out again as they faded to 11th.
Consistency continues to be an issue - only once did they win back-to-back matches - but there were signs coach Michael Maguire's disciplined approach has resulted in progress.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, one of their best - hooker Harry Grant - is set to return to Melbourne after a loan period.
Forwards Luciano Leilua, Josh Aloiai and Thomas Mikaele reached new levels while winger David Nofoaluma enjoyed a terrific season.
Greats Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence have now finished their time as Wests Tigers players, but the club will gain experienced Panthers prop James Tamou in 2021 to fill the leadership void.
Home and away record
The Tigers used three home grounds - Campbelltown Stadium, Leichhardt Oval and Bankwest Stadium - and had a win at each venue as hosts. They also won two more games at Bankwest as visitors.
Their other victories came at WIN Stadium in Wollongong against the Dragons in round one, and Lottoland against Manly in round 17.
Arguably the highlight of the Tigers' season was round 10's 48-0 demolition of Brisbane at Leichhardt. The club's biggest loss for the year - 44-4 against Newcastle - occurred at McDonald Jones Stadium in round 13.
Run metres differential
The Tigers didn't give away ground easily, ranking sixth - the highest of all non-finalists - for average metres conceded with 1640 per game.
But that was offset by their subpar yardage results - ranking 12th with an average of 1591 metres gained per game, making for a run metres differential of -49.1 (10th in competition).
By comparison, minor premiers Penrith owned the best differential (396.4m) while wooden spooners Brisbane (-413.9) were last.
Try scoring - game time
While the Tigers spread their scoring out, statistically they struck most between the 21st minute and half-time with 22 of their 80 total four-pointers (27.5 percent).
The team also posted 21 tries from the start of games to the 20th minute and 20 tries from half-time to the 60th minute. The final 20 minutes of matches was their least productive scoring period with 17 tries (21.25 percent).
Finding points wasn't a big issue for the Tigers as they finished with the seventh-most tries. Winger David Nofoaluma ranked equal third in the league for individual tries (17).
Tries conceded - game time
Scoring tries may not have been a concern, but stopping them was. The Tigers leaked the equal fourth-most four-pointers (90) alongside Manly. Brisbane (107) conceded the most.
According to the numbers, the Tigers were most prone to defensive lapses between the 21st and 40th minutes and the 51st and 70th minutes with 24 tries conceded in each period (26.6 percent).
Tries scored from six-agains
The Tigers adapted well to the six-again rule, scoring the equal seventh-most tries (14) after benefitting from a ruck infringement call. Cronulla (20) scored the most, and Brisbane and Gold Coast (4) the fewest.
Metres gained from offloads
The Leilua brothers, renowned for their attacking exploits, were among the Tigers' biggest recruits and delivered when it came to second-phase play.
Despite missing five games, centre Joey Leilua popped the most offloads (24), with his teammates making 133.4 metres off the back of his passes.
Second-rower Luciano Leilua produced 22 offloads for 63.9 metres, while David Nofoaluma (20 offloads for 109.3 metres) and Adam Doueihi (15 offloads, 114.9 metres) were also prolific.
But playmaking utility Josh Reynolds's 15 offloads created the most impact, helping the Tigers gain an extra 165.7 metres.
Converting four points into six has been an ongoing problem for the Tigers, who landed 69 percent of their goal attempts last year but fell to 67 percent in 2020 - the third-worst rate just above the Cowboys (66.2) and Titans (65.2).
Moses Mbye kicked the most goals for the club (29) but had the lowest success rate (64 percent). Adam Doueihi's percentage of 66 after 16 goals was a slight improvement. Benji Marshall (14 goals, 73 percent) proved the most accurate, albeit from the smallest sample size.
Thirty-one players took the field this year for the Tigers, one of a clump of clubs to use that amount. The Broncos, Storm, Warriors and Raiders all used 32.
The Tigers unleashed five NRL debutants - Shawn Blore, Reece Hoffman, Asu Kepaoa, Sam McIntyre and Alex Seyfarth.
Average sets and completion rate
Despite boasting a strong completion rate of 78.6 per cent (seventh in league), the Tigers averaged the third-fewest sets per game - 39.7. Stat leaders Penrith, in comparison, enjoyed 44.3 sets per game.
On average, Maguire's men attempted 409.9 tackles per game and successfully made 361.3 (89.44 percent - seventh in league).
The Tigers missed 7.1 percent of their attempted tackles, 3.3 percent were ineffective, 1.2 percent were turnover tackles and 0.2 percent counted as try-savers.
2020 Form Guide
|1||Dragons||WIN Stadium, Wollongong||Won 14-24|
|2||Knights||Leichhardt Oval, Sydney||Lost 24-42|
|3||Sharks||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Won 16-28|
|4||Titans||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||Lost 28-23|
|5||Raiders||Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney||Lost 6-14|
|6||Cowboys||Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney||Won 36-20|
|7||Bulldogs||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Won 6-34|
|8||Panthers||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Lost 12-19|
|9||Rabbitohs||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Lost 18-10|
|10||Broncos||Leichhardt Oval, Sydney||Won 48-0|
|11||Eels||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Lost 26-16|
|12||Warriors||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||Lost 20-26|
|13||Knights||McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle||Lost 44-4|
|14||Bulldogs||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Won 29-28|
|15||Roosters||Leichhardt Oval, Sydney||Lost 16-38|
|16||Panthers||Panthers Stadium, Penrith||Lost 30-6|
|17||Sea Eagles||Lottoland, Sydney||Lost 32-34|
|18||Rabbitohs||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Lost 24-26|
|19||Storm||Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast||Lost 50-22|
|20||Eels||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Lost 24-28|