Phil Thomson is still waiting for someone to write a book about the year that was.
"There was a new chapter to the book every week, you could probably make a great little mini-series of it," the ACT Brumbies chief executive laughed.
"I've been in rugby for 25 years, and no, I've never seen anything like it."
The Brumbies' campaign started when they were forced to relocate to Newcastle for pre-season training as Canberra came to grips with bushfire smoke causing the world's poorest air quality.
Then came a COVID-19 pandemic which effectively served as the death knell for Super Rugby as we knew it. Gone were international opposition and for the best part of three months, gone were any rugby games at all.
Yet the Brumbies finished the season as Australian champions, laying the foundations for what those inside the inner sanctum hope is the start of a dynasty.
Here are the biggest headlines from this year and the reasons to get excited about 2021.
BIGGEST STORY OF 2020: Noah Lolesio had fallen to "a pretty big low". The rookie playmaker thought his season was over, perhaps so too a shot at a Wallabies debut, when he suffered a severe hamstring injury in July.
But the 20-year-old flyhalf would put a two-month absence behind him to orchestrate the Brumbies' Super Rugby AU grand final win over the Queensland Reds in a man of the match performance.
BIGGEST SURPRISE OF 2020: Even Nic White's wildest dreams failed to land him in a Super Rugby grand final in Canberra this year.
The Brumbies scrumhalf was due to return in 2021, but found his way back early after the coronavirus pandemic brought his stint in England to an early finish.
"It's pretty special to come back, isn't it? I left school to come down here, spent seven years down there and thought that was all over for me," White said. "I'm still pinching myself that I'm back in Australia and back at the Brums."
COVID CRISIS: The Brumbies had just dusted their arch rivals on home soil. But fans left the stadium wondering what would come next.
The coronavirus outbreak saw Super Rugby suspended midway through March. The stadium had to be scrubbed clean, players cleaned out the club gym to train in small groups at home and in parks.
Thomson said putting the majority of staff on reduced hours was "the hardest decision" he and the club had ever had to make amid concerns about the viability of Australia's Super Rugby teams.
Crowds were capped at 1500, eventually rising to 6000 for the final at Canberra Stadium, keeping fans away from games and contributing to the club's $468,484 loss for 2020.
BRUMBIES RUN FROM BUSHFIRES: The Brumbies were forced to move their entire squad to Newcastle in January to avoid a thick smoke haze as they raced the clock to be ready for round one.
Big Bash League, W-League and WNBL matches were all abandoned in Canberra last summer due to hazardous air quality caused by bushfire smoke.
The devastating fires on the south coast turned the Canberra sky orange and the Brumbies took off to avoid training in adverse conditions.
Soon enough they launched their season in 39-degree heat.
WHO TO WATCH IN 2021: Wallabies coach Dave Rennie undersold it when he said Len Ikitau was "probably the bolter" in the Australian squad ahead of the Bledisloe Cup.
"He hasn't had a lot of Super Rugby minutes but we see a lot in him. We think he has a big future," Rennie said.
"Tough conversations" with Brumbies coach Dan McKellar laid the platform for Ikitau's rise from relative obscurity to the Wallabies squad. Now the departure of Tevita Kuridrani opens the door for the 22-year-old to shine.
HOW A SPARK CAN BECOME FIREWORKS
The Brumbies enter the new year as the undisputed kings of Australian provincial rugby - but their toughest test is yet to come.
Their 2021 season will kick off in Perth against the Western Force as five Australian clubs chase the domestic title, before launching into a trans-Tasman tournament.
The Brumbies scored 33 tries this season - an equal high for Australian teams, with an attacking brand of rugby complementing the side's impressive set piece.
Even in that department the Brumbies have room to grow, having ranked fifth for percentage of scrums won and third for lineouts won among the Australian teams.
The Brumbies pride themselves on their set piece, and if they can take it to another level they will be a tough test for their New Zealand counterparts.
THE NEW MARKET
Rugby Australia needs to find a way to turn Noah Lolesio into a household name to the casual sports fan, to make the profile of Irae Simone one day mirror that of rugby league star Latrell Mitchell.
Maybe a $100 million broadcast deal which saw "fantasy become a reality" in pushing Super Rugby onto free-to-air television can do just that.
A three-year broadcast agreement with Nine Entertainment came cheaper than a potential deal with Foxtel, but it may be a matter of long-term gain.
The Brumbies will play four Super Rugby AU matches in a free-to-air timeslot on Saturday nights, including two home matches against the NSW Waratahs (February 27) and Queensland Reds (March 13).
"Being able to turn on any particular channel everyone has got access to and see a game of rugby if that's what you want to do, it helps to build the profile of our teams and our players," McKellar said.
"It gives boys and girls another option of a sport they may want to play as a kid."
The addition of the Kiwi crossover tournament gives the Brumbies an extra two home games, meaning they will play at least six matches at Canberra Stadium in 2021.
It provides a much-needed boost after coronavirus kept plenty of fans away this year.
THE NEXT STAR
Jahrome Brown wanted to come back to Brumbies headquarters as soon as he touched down in New Zealand.
The breakdown jackal returned home this year on compassionate grounds but has returned desperate to force his way into the XV following the retirement of Will Miller, who traded football for a life on the farm.
"We've got good depth in the back-row. Jahrome Brown is back, Tom Cusack has got the ability to play seven and elsewhere in the back-row," McKellar said. "It's a huge opportunity for those guys."
Twenty-seven members of the Brumbies' title-winning squad are back on board for 2021 with the club set to resume pre-season training on January 4.
Five academy products have graduated to the Brumbies' top squad in back-rower Rory Scott, openside flanker Luke Reimer, hooker Billy Pollard, scrumhalf Lachie Albert, and lock Tom Hooper.
Reece Tapine has turned his back on rugby league in Queensland to chase a Super Rugby shot, while Eastern Suburbs tighthead prop Archer Holz has signed on after starring in the Shute Shield.
A SHOT AT HISTORY
McKellar says rewinding the tape and doing the same thing again simply "won't be good enough" next year.
So the Brumbies are leaving no stone unturned as they enter a new era for the professional game across the Tasman.
Australia and New Zealand teams will chase domestic titles first before coming together in pursuit of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman trophy, giving the Brumbies a chance to win two grand finals in 2021.
"We're always looking to evolve, get better and improve. That certainly won't be changing," McKellar said.
"We understand we run a pretty good program here, we do plenty of things well but we can always get better and better. We want to be the best in the world, not just the best in Australia."
The new format is seen as the first step towards a fully-fledged trans-Tasman competition, with clubs from both nations eyeing more crossover matches. Teams from the Pasifika and Fiji have been touted as potential options to join the competition in 2022.
THE STATS THAT MATTER
SEASON SUMMARY: Played 15 - won 12, lost 3. Super Rugby AU champions.
DEPARTING PLAYERS: Blake Enever (early release), Guy Porter (early release), Tevita Kuridrani (Western Force), Joe Powell (Melbourne Rebels), Lachlan McCaffrey (Japan), Murray Douglas (Japan), Will Miller (retired), Toni Pulu.
NEW PLAYERS: Reece Tapine, Archer Holz, Rory Scott, Luke Reimer, Billy Pollard, Lachie Albert, Tom Hooper.
Round one: ACT Brumbies 27 bt Queensland Reds 24 at Canberra Stadium.
Round two: ACT Brumbies 39 bt Melbourne Rebels 26 at Canberra Stadium.
Round three: Otago Highlanders 23 bt ACT Brumbies 22 at Canberra Stadium.
Round four: ACT Brumbies 26 bt Waikato Chiefs 14 at Waikato Stadium.
Round six: ACT Brumbies 47 bt Japan Sunwolves 14 at Wollongong Showground.
Round seven: ACT Brumbies 47 bt NSW Waratahs 14 at Canberra Stadium.
SUPER RUGBY AU
Round one: ACT Brumbies 31 bt Melbourne Rebels 23 at Canberra Stadium.
Round two: Bye.
Round three: ACT Brumbies 24 by NSW Waratahs 23 at Sydney Olympic Park.
Round four: ACT Brumbies 24 bt Western Force 0 at Leichhardt Oval.
Round five: ACT Brumbies 22 bt Queensland Reds 20 at Canberra Stadium.
Round six: Melbourne Rebels 30 bt ACT Brumbies 12 at Leichhardt Oval.
Round seven: Bye.
Round eight: ACT Brumbies 38 bt NSW Waratahs 11 at Canberra Stadium.
Round nine: ACT Brumbies 31 by Western Force 14 at Canberra Stadium.
Round 10: Queensland Reds 26 bt ACT Brumbies 7 at Lang Park.
Grand final: ACT Brumbies 28 bt Queensland Reds 23 at Canberra Stadium.
BRUMBIES 2021 DRAW
SUPER RUGBY AU
Round one: Friday, February 19 - Western Force v ACT Brumbies at Perth Oval.
Round two: Saturday, February 27 - ACT Brumbies v NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium.
Round three: Saturday, March 6 - Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies at Melbourne Stadium.
Round four: Saturday, March 13 - ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.
Round five: Bye
Round six: Friday, March 26 - ACT Brumbies v Western Force at Canberra Stadium.
Round seven: Friday, April 2 - NSW Waratahs v ACT Brumbies at venue TBC.
Round eight: Saturday, April 10 - Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Lang Park.
Round nine: Friday, April 16 - ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium.
Round 10: Bye
Qualifying Final: Saturday, May 1 - Second-ranked team v Third-ranked team
Final: Saturday, May 8 - First-ranked team v Winner of qualifying final
*All kick-off times to be confirmed
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN
Round one: Saturday, May 15 - Canterbury Crusaders v ACT Brumbies at Christchurch Stadium, 5.05pm.
Round two: Saturday, May 22 - Waikato Chiefs v ACT Brumbies at Waikato Stadium, 5.05pm.
Round three: May 28-29 - ACT Brumbies v Auckland Blues at venue TBC (Super Round).
Round four: Saturday, June 5 - ACT Brumbies v Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm.
Round five: Friday, June 11 - ACT Brumbies v Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm.
Final: Saturday, June 19 - First-ranked team v Second-ranked team