We take a look back at what were our most read news stories of 2021.
Dolphins treble signing
It appears you’re excited about a new club joining the NRL in 2023.
Redcliffe Dolphins have started to announce signings for their maiden year under coach Wayne Bennett.
And this story of Michael Roberts, Harrison Graham and Valynce Te Whare joining made it in to the year’s top 13.
Burgess leaves Wigan
A big story on the eve of the season was the departure of marquee man George Burgess from Wigan.
The former South Sydney prop still had two years on his deal but had made only eight appearances for the Warriors due to a hip injury.
He has since signed a deal with St George-Illawarra Dragons for 2022.
Catalans owner vows never to play a final again under English referees
Catalans owner Bernard Guasch was furious after their Super League Grand Final defeat to St Helens.
He slammed the injustice of decisions that went against the Dragons and vowed never to play in a final again with English referees.
His quotes were one of your most read stories of the year – Guasch would later receive a large fine from the RFL.
Anger as three clubs lose elite academy status
There was controversy back in May when Bradford, Castleford and Hull KR all lost their elite academy status as part of a review by the RFL.
That led to much anger from many, not just those clubs, and eventually the governing body were forced to backtrack.
In June, they confirmed that the three clubs had been granted probationary elite academy licenses.
Bentham resigns from RFL role
The departure of Phil Bentham from his role as a match officials coach at the RFL raised eyebrows in March.
He had opted to pursue opportunities outside of the sport, following a period standing in for Steve Ganson as head of match officials.
Bentham’s exit was the latest in a raft of match official departures in recent years.
Gill in shock Featherstone departure
Steve Gill left his role as Featherstone Rovers General Manager back in March, with Martin Vickers taking up a role at the Millennium Stadium.
Gill said: “It was my decision to leave. Things happen that make working life untenable. That’s life.”
Featherstone have been in the news on and off the pitch more than most all season.
Remembering old rugby league grounds that are no longer here
While feature pieces aren’t what this list was made for, we couldn’t leave out this gem from February – remembering rugby league grounds that are no longer here.
Take a trip down memory lane to the likes of The Boulevard, Knowsley Road and The Willows.
Calls for legal challenge if Toulouse earn promotion to Super League
Ahead of Toulouse’s Grand Final win over Featherstone, there were calls for a legal challenge if they earned promotion to Super League.
Leigh owner Derek Beamount said: “Toulouse haven’t played all their games, they’ve not played all their home games, they’ve not had to do the travelling home and away, you don’t get the same amount of injuries, suspensions, fatigue, they’ve not endured the same season.
“It’s far from fair. So I’m not saying they shouldn’t promote anyone. I just think that, legally, there’s a challenge, if Toulouse get promoted and I think, legally, there’s a challenge if Leigh get relegated.”
No such challenge was forthcoming and Toulouse will line-up in Super League in 2022, with Leigh in the Championship.
Leeds bring Kyle Eastmond back to rugby league
It didn’t work out how anyone had hoped, but Kyle Eastmond’s return from rugby union was big news in March.
Unfortunately, the former St Helens man only managed two appearances for the Rhinos before deciding to hang up his boots.
Match abandoned after player attacks referee
One of the biggest stories of the year involved an abandoned community rugby league match following an attack on a referee.
Official Joe Stearne was reportedly punched by a Milford player after he was sent off.
The player was later banned for life.
Lee Briers: My time in Carcassonne was the making of me
2021 turned out to be Lee Briers’ last year at Warrington, before moving to Wigan as assistant coach.
He reminisced with us earlier in the year about a brief spell in France with Carcassonne, way back in 1996.
Briers said: “It was the making of me because I had to really grow up. It toughened me up and I would definitely recommend to players to go out there and experience it.”
Dissecting Shane Richardson’s plan for British rugby league
It wouldn’t be a rugby league year without talk of a re-structure in some guise.
Australian administrator Shane Richardson published a paper outlining his vision for the game, centring around an independent commission.
Looking at the latest re-structure rumours – the final throw of the dice
Around that time were discussions of there being two 10-team divisions at the top of the game.
This move has since been quashed, with clubs and Sky Sports believed to have been against it.
But at one point, it looked like 2022 would have been very different indeed.
What were your most read stories in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.