The Sydney Roosters hadn't even left ANZ Stadium after their grand final victory before the NRL's off-season from hell had kicked off last September, with Jarryd Hayne allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in the Hunter Valley on grand final night.
Just a day later Greg Inglis would be charged with drink driving after being pulled over while speeding just hours after being named the new Kangaroos captain.
The incidents were followed by, among others, the Dylan Walker and Ben Barba domestic violence allegations, the Dylan Napa and Tyrone May sex tape scandals and, of course, the charges of aggravated sexual assault that were laid against St George Illawarra star Jack de Belin in December.
With debate raging throughout the summer about how the NRL should handle the various incidents, the Australian Rugby League Commission finally resolved the situation this week with the official implementation of the no fault stand down policy.
With de Belin's status now settled, at least for the next five weeks, rugby league fans can finally turn their attention to what they love most. The action on the field.
For the Dragons, that means a first-up trip to Townsville to face a Cowboys side determined to open the post-Jonathan Thurston era with a win.
And for Dragons fans, it marks the first chance to watch the team's rejigged spine in an official NRL match.
You could sense St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor's relief that football had finally returned when he faced the media on Thursday. And you could sense he's excited to see what the Corey Norman-Ben Hunt halves combination will add to the team in 2019.
"It’s exciting times," McGregor said. "We’ve left nothing to chance, had a couple of trials, got some focuses out of the trials and worked really hard over the last two weeks to get it right.
"This is the first weekend Corey and Ben have played together in a competition game. They’re all experienced players, they’re all instinctive players.
"Gareth at the back frees him up a bit. They’ll play pendulum through the middle third, so they’ll link either side of the field. They’ll complement each other well and they’ll only improve as the season goes on."
The biggest question marks of the new spine revolve around captain Gareth Widdop. Starting his last season at the club before he returns home to England, Widdop has been shifted to fullback.
It's a position he has thrived in when representing England at the international level, but many question his ability to achieve similar success over a 25-round NRL season.
McGregor, however, has no doubt his new fullback will slide seamlessly into the new position, starting Saturday night.
Read more: Where will your team finish this season?
"With Gareth sometimes you've just got to acknowledge how good he is.
"He went into the World Cup with three days training, then played three of the four games and was man of the match in three of them.
"We know how good he is, and once he gets out there, I’m sure he’ll show how good he is as well.
"He’s been training there for three months now, so he’s had a really good prep, he understands the game better than most and he’s our captain, so he’s a good voice from there as well."
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