RUGBY league fans should be really excited at the announcement of the return of the Ashes after a break of 17 years ­— but first the dark cloud that has been the disappointing Lions tour needs to be blown away.

Everyone had been really excited about Great Britain returning after a lengthy break, but a combination of pre-tour injuries, some pretty unimaginative team selection, the furore over heritage players and some dour displays in the test matches has burst the bubble that seemed to be growing for a good few years under Wayne Bennett.

Any post-mortem needs to be done swiftly - and we need to move on, and that means replacing the man at the top.

It is not simply down to performances, but how he is now perceived by the supporters.

We don’t get many chances to showcase international rugby league, and so after some of the own goals of the Lions tour we have to get it right for the Ashes - and make sure that helps build the 2021 World Cup here on home soil.

England will face Australia in the the autumn of 2020, with the first of a three-match series kicking off at Bolton on Saturday, 31 October followed by Elland Road a week later.

And then final game takes place at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday, 14 November.

It is a tour that covers all bases - and broadcast live on the BBC.

Having gone so close in the World Cup in 2017, England need to do step up to the mark to make sure that the Ashes stays on the circuit.

It should be there, every four years, dovetailed with the World Cup - and it would also be fantastic if the tour game against Saints, alluded to by Kangaroos boss Mal Meninga, also comes off.