29 September, 2015. 10:50
IMRAN GASHKORI | Sports Editor | Contact
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he National Rugby League has today unveiled the “new and improved” Provan-Summons Trophy, to be awarded to one of the two Queensland-based teams in Sunday night’s grand final showdown.
With the Brisbane Bronco’s comfortable defeat over the Sydney Roosters on Friday night, The North Queensland Cowboys then confirmed an all-Queensland NRL decider after defeating Melbourne 32-12 in front of a sold-out crowd at AAMI Park.
With enormous pressure building from the QRL and northern footballing identities to see the Grand Final hosted in Queensland, to cater for the fans, NRL CEO Dave Smith has today announced today a “compromise” aimed to please all Queenslanders.
“Tradition and contractual requirements state that the decider of the National Rugby League is to be played in Sydney” said Mr Smith, an Irishman who has never played Rugby League.
“It used to be at the Sydney Cricket Oval, but has since been moved to Allianz, which is much better for transport… Either way it’s never been held in Queensland, and never will,”
“Instead, we have decided to modify the Provan-Summons trophy to celebrate this momentous occasion. It’s a special trophy that celebrates the Queensland derby!”
The Provan-Summons trophy is the NRL’s main prize, a three-dimensional cast of a famous photo called The Gladiators, which depicts a mud-soaked Norm Provan of St. George and Arthur Summons of Western Suburbs embracing after the 1963 NSWRFL season’s Grand Final. The trophy is awarded following each grand final to the captain of the winning club.
However, this year, both Provan and Summons have been altered to look like “traditional Queenslanders” with two-heads molded onto each statue.
“It’s a tribute to the die-hard rugby league communities in the Deep North,” Smith continued.
“The sugar-cane-cutting, banana-bending types… The two-headed rum-drinking, banjo-strumming Queenslanders who help make this game the greatest game of all,”
“We never, ever thought that we would see the day that two Queensland clubs made it into the NRL Grand Final. In fact, we have actively worked towards this not happening for many years,”
“However, The Broncos have been unstoppable under Bennett… and The Cowboys have been playing the type of football that not even our Sydney-Centric referees could deny,”
The new trophy has attracted criticism from southern NRL clubs, who have taken offense at the competition trying to “Queenslandify” two iconic New South Wales players.
“This is not appropriate,” said the iconic Toowoomba-born Blues halfback and current commentator, Peter Sterling.
“Provan and Summons were iconic NSWRL players. To make them look like Queenslanders is very offensive,”
“They may as well have just put two real Queenslanders on there, theres plenty of future and currents immortals to choose from. Have you guys even been watching Origin over the last ten years?”
However, despite backlash, the NRL has stated that the trophy will remain Queensland-centric until one of the seven NSW clubs can prove they are ready to play serious football.
The NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final will be held in Sydney this Sunday, October 4th, at ANZ Stadium. Featuring a special concert performance by South Australian rock legends Cold Chisel. Book tickets here!