The pronouncement by acting NRL CEO Andrew Abdo fairly reeked of hyperbole, but after all, it is the CEO’s job to do a little promoting from time to time.

It would seem to be one of the better aspects of the job, better than the weekly defense of the officiating of the games.

“After months of careful preparation and planning, the NRL Telstra Premiership is back and will be faster and tougher than ever before,” Abdo said.

Not sure how stopping for a couple months will make the game faster and tougher.

Do they intend to shorten the games? That would cover the faster part of Abdo’s proclamation.

We’ll grant him tougher.

The plan is for there to be 18 continuous games from the regular fixture, with a Grand Final for the premiership of the Telstra 2020 NRL Premiership competition to be played in Sydney on October 25.

For years, we have been advocating for State of Origin to be played at season’s end. We would have preferred to have that happen without a pandemic, though. We do not exactly love the idea of the series being played on three consecutive Wednesday nights, but the sports calendar will be hectic around that time and Wednesday is an open day for the majority of professional sports leagues, with the possible exceptions of those team sports that play many games, such as baseball and basketball.

It will require some adaptation by fans, who will be limited to viewing the games electronically. Empty stands, in our view at least, will have us thinking we are watching a Gold Coast inter-squad game, even if the kits clearly tell us we are watching Sydney versus Souths.

Overall, however, we are ecstatic that football will once again offer some much-deserved distraction.

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