12th July 2018, 10:57 | steve_mascord
It’s an old chestnut - and the Aussies still don’t seem to be able to get it right.
On Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium, New South Wales lifted the State of Origin trophy for only the second time in 13 years - in front of an away crowd, after a loss.
Australian sport does not have has many trophies as its British cousin; it rarely has promotion and relegation. It's all about the play-offs with the incremental fortunes of teams over the course of a season the mere entre to the main course of a grand final. The ritual of lifting a trophy is not as deeply ingrained of focused upon.
So they repeatedly stuff it up.
Remember the final round of the 2015 regular season when the League Leaders Shield started the night at Huddersfield, headed for Wigan, then came back to Huddersfield?
By comparison, the JJ Giltinan Shield for the NRL minor premiers might be on standby at a team’s final home game but it’s hard to see such an elaborate plan being put in place - or it being held aloft weeks out from the finals should a team get an unassailable lead at the top of the table.
Take another example: the Championship League Leaders Shield taking a trip across the Atlantic last Sunday to be presented to the Toronto Wolfpack following their win against Sheffield. Conceivably, it could have sat there for weeks and then come back to England before Ashton Sims et al got their hands on it.
By doing it the way they did, the RFL got images which have been shared by the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Argonauts to millions of sports fans via social media.
The Lamport formalities had two things the Origin presentation did not: it came when the silverware was actually earned and it was in front of the fans who stood to enjoy it the most.
A good example of how ritualised presentations have become in Britain came when England beat New Zealand 36-18 at Mile High Stadium on June 23.
Presented with a brand new trophy after a one-off Test in intense heat and high altitude on a temporary stage after the game, the England players briefly looked at each other (some were going straight to the airport for long haul flights) and then knew what they had to do: jump up and down on the spot and pump one arm after another like they were climbing the mast of a tall ship.
YESSSS BOYSSSS 💪🏆 pic.twitter.com/qAQipuAil3— England Rugby League (@England_RL) 23 June 2018
Whether there are 80,000 there or 8,000, there is the expectation of wasted champagne, a sign explaining the achievement and - if at night - mandatory fireworks. The stages seem to be deliberately constructed to give the illusion they might collapse at any minute.
That’s just how it works now. It would have gone down very well in Sydney three weeks ago.
Maybe they’ll get it right next year