Fast forward the clock to 17:55 on September 15 and picture this.
The Hawke's Bay Magpies are taking on Northland in their ITM Cup Championship rugby fixture at Napier's McLean Park. With former All Black and Magpies hooker Hika Elliot's Tamatea clubmates surrounding the park's fences with "Bring Back Hika" banners it's an appropriate backdrop as Elliot has a barn-storming game for the lads from Taniwha country and helps them produce an upset winagainst the province which axed him last month.
While the chances of Elliot turning out for Northland are slim, it's a possibility. Northland, Auckland and North Harbour are unions Elliot, 27, is rumoured to be looking at.
However, Northland union chief executive officer Jeremy Parkinson pointed out his union is unlikely to have the money Elliot, a veteran of 77 Super Rugby games and 83 first class games for the Magpies since 2005, can command. "If Hika was happy to play for $15,000 we would grab him with both hands," Parkinson quipped. "Seriously though, I'm the one in charge of the contracts up here and we haven't done one for Hika."
Auckland union chief executive and former All Black hooker Andy Dalton said rumours suggesting Elliot was heading to his union were news to him. However, he pointed out he was scheduled to have a contracts meeting yesterday and there was a chance his name could be mentioned there.
North Harbour coach and former Magpies technical adviser Liam Barry said Elliot wasn't coming his way.
Elliot didn't return calls this week. He was obviously focused on his return to the Chiefs' 22 for last night's match against the Rebels in Melbourne after missing out on a berth the previous week.
I know we are all hot under the collar about 'average imports', but this dude aint average! Looks very unlikely, but hell I wouldn't complain if he turned up on our doorstep.
There's definitely potential for this topic to cause polarised opinions, but interesting nonetheless..