Yesterday the NSW Rugby League twitter account tweeted that a special visitor would make making its way to ANZ Stadium this Wednesday, the Origin shield.
Yes, the very same shield New South Wales are aiming to win for only the second time in a decade.
The very same shield, that if New South Wales do capture this Wednesday Night, that will make the trip north back to Suncorp Stadium, where it will be presented.
Yes, the very same Suncorp Stadium that could very well be half empty if the series is a done deal and one that will be populated in majority by Queensland fans.
Regardless of the result on Wednesday night, unless common sense overrides tradition before the night itself, will not be awarded in front of a jam-packed, jubilant, NSW Origin blue themed ANZ Stadium.
Instead, it will be awarded in front of ten thousand or so fans who decided it would be better to watch the ceremony that battle traffic.
Doesn’t that sound magical?
Funnily enough, if the Blues do capture the series, whether in Origin II or in a decider, it will be the third time in four years that the Origin shield will be awarded in enemy territory.
Last year Cam Smith lifted the shield in front of a half-interested crowd who were still farewelling departing skipper and Origin legend Paul Gallen.
In 2014, the Blues ended a near decade-long dominance by the Maroons, only for Paul Gallen to be booed as he lifted the coveted trophy that had eluded him for so very long.
Both should have been amazing, emotional moments, held in front of a near packed, friendly house.
The NRL is facing another almost embarrassing situation should the Blues win game two and win the series, given that they will again be responsible for taking a moment away from the fans.
That’s the way they’ve always done it.
You see, history and tradition mean more than common sense.
— ANZ Stadium (@ANZStadium) June 19, 2017
Common sense dictates if New South Wales win the series, they lift the trophy on Wednesday night.
What good comes from holding the trophy ceremony over?
It doesn’t make a dead rubber Origin three mean more, or less. Every Origin game means something. Losing three-nil is crushing. Don’t get me wrong, losing two-one isn’t exactly a holiday, but no player wants to be part of a side whitewashed in an Origin series.
Queensland will want to Origin Three just as much whether or not the shield has been awarded. New South Wales will want to white wash Queensland just as much.
I suppose a few fans may be entitled to travel up to Suncorp for Origin three to see the shield awarded, but honestly, those few hundred ticket sales aren’t worth sacrificing what would be gained through a home field presentation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of tradition. I cringe when Origin games are taken away from Brisbane or Sydney. I hate the idea of moving the Grand Final away from Sydney. I’m supremely jealous of the AFL Grand Final’s Saturday afternoon tradition.
But common sense has to overrule tradition in this instance. Doesn’t it?
Of course, this argument becomes a moot point should the champion Queensland side fight back and level the series this Wednesday night.
It worries me that I’m even thinking about an Origin shield presentation. Let’s hope none of the Blues squad has similar thoughts or Slater, Thurston and co will destroy this argument.
Bring on Wednesday night.
Bring on a New South Wales victory and series win.
Bring on the shield celebration ceremony!!!