Western Suburbs were never going to be down for long, but after missing last year's semis altogether the Rosellas rebounded in emphatic fashion in 2019 via one of the most impressive Newcastle Rugby League rosters ever assembled.
It's always difficult to compare across eras and there's been plenty of Australian and NSW representatives produced during the 109-year history of this competition, however, with five former NRL players in the same squad the current Wests crop certainly put themselves in conversation up there with the best.
And then you throw in this campaign's long-list of achievements and overall domination, capped off by Sunday's 36-0 grand final win against Cessnock at McDonald Jones Stadium. The crowd was approximately 5300.
The Rosellas were crowned minor premiers with weeks to spare, finishing a runaway 10 points clear of their nearest rival.
They dropped just two of 16 regular-round matches, by a combined total of only seven points (13-8 v Cessnock on June 8, 14-12 v Souths on August 11).
Their for-and-against record (553-159) was 307 better than second place during the normal season, averaging 34.56 points per outing and conceding a miserly 9.94 each game.
Not once, in any 80-minute period this year, did Wests let in more than 20 points and four times they kept opponents scoreless, including the decider.
In attack, the Rosellas were held to less than 20 on four occasions but every other fixture they went past 30. They notched up a hat-trick half-centuries, including the major semi, and once reached 61.
So then it came to showtime, trying to erase the memories of 2017 when also favourites but beaten by Macquarie in the big dance.
There'd be no such repeat for Wests this time around despite captain, halfback and Newcastle RL player of the year Luke Walsh leaving the field with an ankle injury in the opening 10 minutes.
The Rosellas posted one of the more commanding grand final results, featuring three tries for Ryan Walker, to complete a title double.
It's no surprise Walsh and Walker ended up one-two in the best-and-fairest standings for 2019. Retiring pair Mark Taufua and Brad Tighe are the other former NRL players at Wests along with Pat Mata'utia.
Hooker Alex Langbridge was the Newcastle RL representative player of the year, joining teammates such as Chad O'Donnell, Sam Keenan, Ryan Walsh, Blake Andrews, Mao Uta, Tama Koopu and Mata'utia in both Rebels and NSW Pioneers squads.
Outgoing Rosellas mentor Matt Lantry, who has signed with Maitland for the next two seasons having arrived at Harker Oval in 2017, enjoyed success at club, Rebels and Pioneers. Earlier this month he received the Newcastle RL coach of the year award.
Wests also clinched the club championship and all five grades (firsts, reserves, opens, under 19s, women's Blues Tag) made the finals series. The top two collected major premierships.
Much had been made of the Rosellas falling short of the semis for the first time since 1979, but 12 months on they have bounced back with interest.
Cessnock's run home ended on grand final day, similar to fellow Coalfields club Kurri Kurri in 2013, having conquered four must-win encounters to reach the decider from fifth place on the ladder.
The Goannas made the most of sneaking into the top five by a point, based on a field goal kicked in the last minute of a last-round game they weren't even playing.
It was the eighth time Cessnock have been beaten by Wests in a title showdown since 1966, including four from 2008, and means the Goannas continue to search for their first premiership since 2003.
Central Newcastle went within one win of the club's first grand final appearance since 1963, having launched themselves from last to third on the back of a seven-game unbeaten streak.
But the Butcher Boys went down to Cessnock in the preliminary final and Wests in the major semi after they scored a last-minute triumph over Souths in the qualifying play-off.
Defending champions Souths went out in straight sets after finishing second on the ladder.
For the second year in-a-row Maitland lost an elimination semi-final at home.
Kurri narrowly missed the play-offs while Macquarie and Lakes ended up bottom of the ladder. The Seagulls got the wooden spoon.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Fullback - Cameron Anderson (Central): Made the transition from wing to fullback with relative ease at the Butcher Boys, crossing for 19 tries all up.
Wingers - Mao Uta (Wests), Greg Morris (Maitland): Can both find the line. Uta is very strong. Morris is very quick.
Centres - Tom Cronan (Souths), Kurt Donoghoe (Central): Young pair with plenty of speed and fancy footwork. Showed a lot of promise and potential throughout the year.
Five-eighth - Chad O'Donnell (Wests): Started the season on fire and, although changing jerseys later, finished in style in the halves during grand final.
Halfback - Luke Walsh (Wests): Not only his experience and ability to organise a team, but influence he has on all of those around him. Simply a class above.
Props - Brendan Hlad (Cessnock), Jayden Butterfield (Maitland): Coalfields pair at either end of their careers, but both have quite the impact up the middle.
Hooker - Alex Langbridge (Wests): Always in the game and poses danger across the park. Directs traffic well, good pass and can dart out of dummy-half.
Second row - Ryan Walker (Wests), Pat Mata'utia (Wests): Former NRL duo on either side of the Rosellas' edges. Thirty tries between them and strong defenders.
Lock - Mitch Cullen (Kurri): A consistent performer with the Bulldogs regardless of what position he plays. Loves getting his hands on the ball.
Bench - John Toleafoa (Lakes), Luke Higgins (Souths), Paul Carter (Cessnock), Ryan Walsh (Wests): Solid displays in a range of roles during 2019.