PHOTOS: After 9 Years NSW Welcomed Back The State Of Origin Shield Today

It was a roaring reception for the victorious NSW Blues, who today brought home the State of Origin shield for the first time in nine years.

A sparkling Sydney day and the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the perfect welcome home for the trophy, carried by skipper Paul Gallen and his team.

Like a proud kid clutching his newest toy, Gallen marched through the sea of blue holding the State of Origin shield high.

NSW Premier Mike Baird led the tributes.

“We know we have the best city in the world, the best state in the world, some of the most amazing sites – the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, but everything is right in the world when you see Paul Gallen holding up the state of Origin shield,” he said.

“I want to pay tribute to these amazing group behind me. There were over 7 million people across this state who were with them for every run and every tackle. It is fantastic after eight long miserable years, that we have the State of Origin trophy back here. Congratulations to Paul Gallen, Laurie Daly, all the players and I really, I really look forward to Campbell Newman running in a Blues jersey. That is going to be a great day.”

The Premier’s speech was followed by coach Daly who said the boys’ determination to prove themselves earned them the win.

“And I think before the start of the series not too many people gave us the chance of winning one game, let alone two. And while it was disappointing to lose last night, for us, to be able to win it here in front of our fans in game II was a pretty special moment. And a lot of you guys were at that game and I think that was the reason why we won. We recognise that we play for you, you are our team and we really want to thank you for your support not only for being here today but through the whole series, and we look forward to your continuing support… when NSW hope to be in this position again.”

Blues captain Gallen opened his victory speech with an apology.

“First of all I want to apologise to the two million people I forgot about last night. I thank 5 million but I was told plenty of times this morning that there’s actually seven million people in NSW. Rest assure we did it for all of you.”

Here are some photos from the event.

Fans wait excitedly for the team to arrive

Gallen triumphantly carries the shield above his head through the crowd

The team stands tall and proud

Finally the State of Origin shield is back where it belongs

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