Matt Pritchard looks at the five most feel-good rugby league stories of 2020.
5. The Penrith Panthers’ record winning streak
The sleeping giant awoke at the foot of the mountains in 2020: the Penrith Panthers went on a record 17-game winning streak to go within a whisker of being the unlikely NRL premiers.
Their dreams were shattered on grand final day as the Melbourne Storm showed their big game experience to win the decider 26-20.
Penrith proved the critics wrong, with Nathan Cleary taking full reigns of the side after James Maloney left the club during the summer.
Api Koroisau’s return to the Panthers – after a stint at Manly – provided the go-forward lacking in previous campaigns.
Stephen Crichton had a breakthrough year, scoring 17 tries in 22 appearances.
Their pre-season camp, and quickly adapting to the NRL rule changes upon the season resumption, were also factors in their success.
The big question will be whether they can go one better in 2021?