It’s that time of year when we all come together and show our appreciation to those who have given so much to us. The NRL has been particularly generous this past year, so it seems only fitting for us to reciprocate with a few gifts of our own.
When it comes to rugby league, there is no shortage of big, bearded blokes. However, we’re ready to play Santa for a night and make a list of who has been naughty and nice in 2023. One player who stood out as particularly deserving this year was Nathan Cleary, especially towards the end. The Warriors also deserve recognition for combining a winning footy team with a great time. The whole of New Zealand went great with a Test series win over Australia.
Unfortunately, there are a few lumps of coal to hand out as well. The Roosters were the most suspended team in 2023 if you count by fines, and the Cowboys had the most players sitting out due to bans. Spare a thought for Josh McGuire, who missed 19 weeks of his first year in the Super League due to a series of bans.
Moving on to the Christmas stockings for each club, we have some playful ideas. For the Dolphins, we’re thinking a Nirvana album would be fitting for their first season. As for the Knights, a donkey might make Will Pryce, their new Pommy signing, feel at home. And for the Storm, some Windex would help them clean up after Coach Craig Bellamy’s famous sprays.
Each club has their own special gift, from a Swiss army knife for the Bulldogs to a DVD player for Souths. It’s all in good fun, but it’s a reminder that the holiday season is a time for giving and showing appreciation.