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The 2020 NRL Annual: All you need to know about a year like no other

Having produced his season retrospective every season from 1987, the NRL's official stats guru David Middleton said in a year like no other, it was more important this year than ever to have a record of what happened.

The 34th edition of his Big League Annual is being hosted online at NRL.com this year, chock full of the usual features such as Middleton's Team of the Year, the Top 5 Players of the Year and an In Memoriam section that sadly features some huge rugby league identities and some young players taken way too soon.

Middleton's recount of the major news stories of the past 12 months is divided into the pre-season and each month of the season with a daily diary of the events as they happened.

There is a full wrap-up of men's and women's State of Origin series, as well as all the stats and info for each NRL club, including a video review of all 16 teams with NRL.com reporter Zac Bailey and former internationals Robbie Farah and Brett Kimmorley.

The Storm's 2020 season in review

NRLW chief reporter Alicia Newton has also selected a women's Team of the Year as well as her Five Players of 2020 while the Annual also includes a season review for each of the four Telstra Women's Premiership clubs.

"People in years to come will have a lot of questions about the season," Middleton said.

The biggest hits of the 2020 season

"A whole heap of different things changed and having an Annual that does a blow-by-blow account of the season puts into context everything that went on during the year so that's why it's important.

"The daily diary part is something that people can look back on in years to come and get a better grip on thing like why teams were playing out of certain venues.

"Why did the Storm only play one game at AAMI Park or why did the Warriors have to shift countries?

"It's all fresh in our minds now but in years to come people will look back and say 'why were there no crowds this week but crowds the next week?'"

Middleton says a print version is still being planned and was confident it would be available early in the new year.

"There's a really in-depth look at all the former identities associated with the game that passed away during the year," Middleton said.

"There's over 60 former players, officials, referees, coaches. This year in particular we lost 11 former internationals which is pretty unusual.

"Teams of the year are a dime a dozen, everyone has their own opinions on teams and I guess this is no different but it's been a long tradition to pick a team of the year in the Annual.

"It's based primarily on opinion of players from the very start of the season through rep footy and finals football.

"The top five players list is in the same vein. It was very hard to leave Cameron Smith out of that top five after getting the Storm to another premiership."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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