A star export, a grand final with the lot and a rich new TV deal - that was the year that was in rugby league.
The Hayne plane heads to the US
Greatest sporting moments of 2015
Rio Olympics: Athletes' village 'unliveable'
Raiders triumph in golden point thriller
Swans hold off brilliant Blues
Robbie Farah: Coach defends controversial drop
Cats too potent for Crows
Saints edge wounded Dogs
Storm hold off spirited Roosters
Greatest sporting moments of 2015
Big waves, big wins and a big year for firsts, these are the greatest sporting moments of 2015.
So many people laughed or straight discounted any hope of Jarryd Hayne transforming from an NRL superstar to NFL running back.
That's part of what made his improbable journey so engrossing as the former Parramatta Eels full back left the prosperity of his prime NRL years to follow his US pipe dream.
He changed his body, lowered his running style and learned how to function in the structured world of gridiron.
We kept expecting San Francisco 49ers to end the fairytale and send him back to Australia but he kept surpassing their demands and made the team's opening day roster as a punt-returner and backup running back.
Jarryd Hayne. Photo: Getty Images
The 27-year-old created some highlight plays using his rugby-inspired fend-offs to surprise those who thought NFL was impossible to play without a lifetime of training.
The Australian media swarmed and the coverage seemed excessive to some but the romance equalled the hype, even when Hayne was cut in week six.
He remains on the ailing 49ers' practice squad and will only get better - no one is laughing off the prospect of him doing bigger and better things when he gets his second chance.
If nothing else, Australia's journalists and football fans have had an insight into the transactional world of US sport where you can be cut today and re-signed tomorrow - it's a taste of how our own sports could become.
As Hayne keeps working away, back in Australia many other football stars may start wondering - can I fly like the Hayne Plane? It might pay to find out.
Johnathan Thurston and the fairytale grand final
Fate seemed to be against Johnathan Thurston's North Queensland Cowboys ever winning a premiership.
They have been knocked out of the finals on bad referee decisions, improbable happenings and the tyranny of distance between Townsville and the rest of the NRL world.
But fortunes turned and Thurston, front rower Matt Scott and the unheralded Cowboys proved to the team of destiny in the NRL finals.
They beat out the Storm in Melbourne in the preliminary final and even as he battled injury Thurston was still laughing, joking and offering high-fives to anyone on offer as the Far North got behind their Cowboys.
On grand final night, with a minute left, it looked like he would fall at the final hurdle as his side trailed 16-12 and he was swarmed by Brisbane Broncos.
Instead those old legs skipped backwards and away for long enough to force a cross field pass to Michael Morgan whose perfect assist set up Kyle Feldt's try on the siren.
With a kick to win the premiership from the touchline, Thurston's low kick hit the post resulting in golden point extra time.
He threw his mouthguard, he screamed in disgust but collected his thoughts.
Thurston begged for one more chance, and it came in the opening seconds when Ben Hunt dropped the kickoff reception just metres from his own line.
The Cowboys moved around the Broncos defence then found Thurston 15 metres from goal, his dropkick never in doubt. Fate be damned.
Grand final winner Johnathan Thurston. Photo: Getty Images
State of Origin
With Hayne gone to the NFL and many other New South Wales stars struggling for fitness, form or the right fit in the Blues side, this promised to be Queensland's year of redemption.
That storyline looked on track when the Maroons won took a brutal game one 11-10 in Sydney. But with a record crowd of 91,513 packed into the MCG, Michael Jennings' burning speed powered the Blues' attacks before tries from Aaron Woods and Josh Dugan gave them a 26-18 win and a live game three decider in Queensland.
With a build-up to rival any title fight and the addition of a 60 Minutes story on Alex McKinnon running comments portraying Maroons captain Cameron Smith as heartless for arguing the penalty which left McKinnon in a wheelchair - the Maroons went into their shells then took revenge on the Blues.
The Maroons had the game won by the hour mark if not before, scoring six tries before Jennings' 61st minute score to take a 52-6 win as retiring centre Justin Hodges took the last conversion kick in celebration.
Smith relished the celebrations but gave Channel Nine, the home of 60 Minutes, a wide berth.
With Maroons boss Mal Meninga now Australian coach, next year's origin series will transform once again.
Dismal: Josh Morris slumps to the ground as Queensland cross for yet another try in the Origin decider. Photo: Getty Images
Cam Smith the milestone man
In mid-July, just days after winning the State of Origin with Queensland, Cameron Smith came up to his 300th Melbourne Storm game.
It's a rare achievement for anyone to remain strong enough and good enough to bring up such a milestone; Smith was just the 24th player to do so.
The 32-year-old tried his best to play it down but his acclaim across the sport meant that was never going to happen.
After a week of platitudes and best wishes, the Storm pulled on their retro jerseys which harked back to their premiership years, then tore apart a struggling Penrith Panthers side 52-10.
Victorian-raised winger Richard Kennar scored his first NRL try late in the game and Smith was first to greet him in celebration.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitted he was a bundle of nerves pre-game as he wanted a win for his skipper.
"I said "mate it's my 300th but it's just another game of footy, you need to relax. I was relaxed," Smith said afterwards. Replied Bellamy: "that's easy for you".
With his Storm future set, Smith has Darren Lockyer's 355-game NRL record in his sights.
Cameron Smith is chaired off after playing his 300th game. Photo: Getty Images
Storm's young guns fuel finals run
There is no question Melbourne Storm will face some struggles when they no longer have Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk in the side.
But the second half of the 2015 season showed the Storm aren't waiting for that day to come, instead unleashing some promising young talents who fuelled a second-half run into the top four after late season wins over Brisbane Broncos and the Cowboys.
When the Storm went to Sydney and knocked over title favourites Sydney Roosters in the qualifying final, they did so behind sturdy defence plus the impressive work of winger Marika Koroibete and young full back Cameron Munster who took the place of the injured Slater for almost the full season.
Teenage giant Nelson Asofa-Solomona became a fixture as a bench forward while Jesse Bromwich and Tim Glasby were imposing in the centre of the field.
The Cowboys would get their revenge on the Storm in the preliminary final in front of a sold out AAMI Park but the future looks promising.
The Storm's challenge is how to transition the new stars in without pushing their elder statesman out.
How Munster and the newly re-signed Slater are used next season will be the first example.
Cameron Munster. Photo: Getty Images
The NRL's off-field battles to modernise businesses, truly start courting large membership bases and balance club budgets will continue with little true progress despite a bumper new TV rights deal - worth $1.8 billion over five years.
On field, the league needs to rally around its superstars and make sure they can bring back the likes of Sam Burgess without breaking the bank or needing too many exemptions.
The Storm's immediate future in 2016 will revolve around whether Craig Bellamy opts to take up the option in his contract to stay or close his long tenure at season's end.
Bellamy is still on top of his game and has promising young talents like Munster, Asofa-Solomona and others to mould into winners.
In Victoria, Bellamy holds a place of high respect, he might be the most respected sporting coach in the state and he promotes the Storm, rugby league and the profession of coaching in a great light.
He will still be riding the highs and lows of week to week Storm games beyond this year but the club also have an eye to the next generation so expect more young guns to appear in 2016 and another deep finals campaign as well.