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21st of July 2018

Sport



Maroons 'celebration' set to overshadow Blues trophy presentation

The debate about when the trophy should be presented has been debated in the past, with the NRL is no hurry to revisit the issue.

But Blues boss Dave Trodden for the first time told Fairfax Media on Wednesday night it was time to give thought to rewarding the winner in front of their own fans, regardless if it is in game three.

"We've never really entered the debate when it comes to when the Origin trophy is presented,'' Trodden said.

"But having a game where the home team is so heavily referenced rather the actual series winner, maybe it's time we have that debate about when the trophy is presented.

"Everybody supports the brilliant careers of Cameron Smith and Billy Slater and it's totally appropriate for them to be celebrated in Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.

"But you also don't want to detract from the ability for the winners to properly celebrate.

Immortal in waiting: Cameron Smith is set to be given a farewell from the Origin arena before Game III.

Immortal in waiting: Cameron Smith is set to be given a farewell from the Origin arena before Game III.

Photo: AAP

"Balancing those two objectives will re-ignite the debate where the trophy should be presented, especially if the series is won in your own backyard.''

NSW are favourites with the bookies to complete a 3-0 series sweep, so officials north of the Tweed River were happy to embrace their rich past, including Smith and what will be Slater's final representative game.

The over-indulgence stretched to having Smith trotted out on the field before kick-off, while even the artist who will perform, Amy Shark, bleeds Maroon.

The Blues are no strangers to losing to Queensland, but never dared to make it about them when it came to ANZ Stadium dead-rubbers.

Former Blues greats were hardly surprised Queensland were planning to steal the Blues' thunder, and backed Trodden's call to rethink the timing of the trophy celebrations.

NSW great Benny Elias slammed the Maroons' self-indulgence and said: "Rather than acknowledging our victory, they want to take all the shine off us.

"These people are brutal and the hate between the two states is going to be even worse. It’s war more than ever.

"It’s the greatest motivation for our young blokes to go up there and pull their pants down in front of their own fans.

"It will make it all the sweeter when we go there and make it 3-0."

Mark Geyer, whose fiery standoff with Wally Lewis in 1991 remains one of the great Origin images, said the trophy should have been presented last Sunday as a reward for the fans who helped the Blues survive the final 10 minutes to win.

"I've said this the last 10 years, even when Queensland have won on our deck,'' Geyer said. "Do it twice if you have to. When you win the series you should get the silverware right there and then. If it wasn't for the 85,000 fans last Sunday week maybe we don't get through that last 10 minutes, and there as much a part of it as anyone.

"You want to give them something to stay around for."

Steve Mortimer, one of the first Blues skippers, said it made sense to present the trophy last Sunday.

"It's so hard to get a series win, even during my day, so you deserve to celebrate it at your home ground if you win there and then,'' Mortimer said. "There would not have been a finer time for the Blues to celebrate with everyone."

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.

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