Queensland captain Cameron Smith should not be allowed to lift the State of Origin shield if the Maroons wrap up the series on Wednesday, according to NSW prop James Tamou.
While Smith hoisted the shield in front of a delirious Suncorp Stadium crowd after last year’s decider, NSW counterpart Paul Gallen was forced to wait until game three the previous year.
The Blues had wrapped up the series after two games in 2014, but instead of celebrating with a packed house at ANZ Stadium, the NSW skipper achieved the feat away from home after an Origin III loss.
Just a day after arriving in enemy territory, Tamou insists Smith should also have to wait until the final match back in Sydney if the Maroons roll the Blues again in Brisbane.
“If Gal didn’t get to do it in 2014 then I don’t expect them to be able to do it,” Tamou said.
“It’s a three-game series. Obviously if they do manage to get over the finish line in game two, then they have to, I think they should wait as we did in 2014.”
But while the 27-year-old admits everyone is expecting Queensland to win, he is confident the Blues can cause an upset and send the series to a decider back at ANZ Stadium.
“Obviously going up to Suncorp, up to Brisbane, their territory, and last year’s game three, I think a lot of people are writing us off,” he said.
“But I’m confident all we have to do – all we can do – is control what we do and in what we’ve done the last couple of days on the training paddock.”
The powerhouse front-rower is hoping for a big game against the Maroons after an emotional week that included signing the biggest NRL contract of his career with Penrith.
Not only did Tamou became one of the few players committed until the end of 2020, but he is now the first player out of North Queensland’s 2015 premiership-winning side to leave.
Tamou hopes the finalisation of his future will help him find another gear in his football.
“I’m hoping so. I can focus a bit more on footy, on Origin and obviously the Cowboys,” he said.
“Hopefully getting that out of the road, and the boys up there know, it’ll be a lot more easier. It’s a big weight off my mind.”
Tamou will join a Panthers side next year that could be missing out-of-favour playmaker Jamie Soward, whose future at the club is clouded after being dropped to reserve grade for the past fortnight.
Tamou urged Penrith to stick by the former NSW pivot.
“He’s obviously a rep player, he offers a lot so I’d like to see him stick around,” he said.