The thought of lifting the State of Origin shield at a deserted Sydney stadium doesn’t particularly appeal to Queensland captain Cameron Smith – but he’ll do it anyway.
The Maroons can seal a 10th series win in 11 years by claiming Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
If they win the match tradition dictates that Smith will have to wait until after game three to accept the shield in front of what could be a mostly empty ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
The Maroons skipper said organisers should consider tweaking the tradition to avoid the awkwardness of him toasting success in hostile surroundings.
“I remember in 2014 the Blues wrapped it up in two games and were talking about the same issue after (Paul) Gallen had to lift it up here in Queensland,” Smith said.
“Maybe it is something to look at but traditionally it has been lifted after game three.
“To be honest if we are lucky enough to wrap it up in game two I don’t care where we lift the shield.
“It would be nice to lift it in front of your home crowd but if I am lifting it in front of 20 people in Sydney so be it – it still goes in our shed.”
NSW prop James Tamou said Smith should not be able to lift the trophy in Brisbane on Wednesday night after the Blues were forced to wait in 2014.
The Blues finally snapped Queensland’s eight series winning run with a game two victory in 2014 in front of a packed ANZ Stadium.
But they had to wait to accept the shield until after a game three loss 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, their territory, and last year’s game three, I think a lot of people are writing us off,” he said, citing Queensland’s 52-6 game three win last year.
“But I’m confident all we have to 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.
“It’s a big weight off my mind,” Tamou said.