No NSW captain has lifted the State of Origin shield in Sydney since 2004, a statistic Blues legends are demanding must change on Wednesday night.
The only problem: Presentation protocol will ensure the shield won’t be awarded until after Game III in Brisbane.
Even if the Blues clinch the series in front of an anticipated 80,000 fans at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night, Origin tradition dictates that the presentation is held after the last match of the series.
It comes after Cameron Smith was handed the trophy in front of an almost-empty ANZ Stadium after 2016’s Game III dead rubber, despite having earlier wrapped up the series in Brisbane.
In fact, in three of the last four times the series has been decided after the second match, the victorious captain has lifted the shield away from their home fans.
As a result it’s a tradition that NSW legend Steve Roach said needs to change.
“It’s weird,” Roach told AAP.
“They should change it. If you win the shield on your own turf you should be able to lift it.”
Roach started at prop in 17 games for NSW between 1984 and 1991, and won three series with the Blues.
His call was also backed by the last halfback to direct NSW to a 3-0 series whitewash, Brett Kimmorley.
“You don’t want to go up and lift the Shield in front of Queensland. You want to lift it here in front of 80,000 NSW fans,” Kimmorley said.
The last Blue to lift the shield on NSW soil, Danny Buderus, could however find reason in the justification that the series isn’t formally over until the end of the last game.
Buderus captained NSW to their 2004 and 2005 series wins, and said neither presentation was more special – despite the latter of the victories coming in Brisbane.
“If I’m Boyd Cordner and I get to do it up there Game III, I’d be stoked,” Buderus said.
“It’s a proud moment no matter where it is.
“You want to enjoy it with your teammates, they’re the ones you’re looking straight at.”
The current NSW captain, Cordner, is for his part unfussed when he receives the trophy – as long as they win it.
“An Origin series win is an Origin series win, no matter where you lift the Shield or at what time,” he said.
“But it’s obviously a long way away.”
The annual issue will be put to bed for at least the next two series, with the second game of 2018 and 2019 to be held in Melbourne and Perth respectively.