The day Frank Rynehart's dream of seeing a rugby league grand final from the sidelines came true, it rained.
Western Suburbs had made one last ditch effort to stop a rampaging St George from claiming the title in misty conditions at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1961 in front of just shy of 62,000 fans. The St. George back row ran riot and devastated Wests 22-0.
Mr Rynehart, now 74, was in his element.
As a youngster, he had played in junior competitions in Newcastle, and had pleaded with his dad to take him to see a grand final. Father and son made the trip two years in a row, and with that a tradition was struck. In 59 years, Mr Rynehart has never missed another premiership.
"He loves his football more than anything," Lee Rynehart, Mr Rynehart's wife of 52 years, said.
Mr Rynehart will be supporting the Panthers, but with a wary eye on the Storm, Mrs Rynehart said.
"You can never be sure with the Storm, but their hearts will be with the Panthers," she said.
For almost six decades, nothing has stood between the Eleebana man and his annual trip to watch the final match of the season.
Mrs Rynehart recalls one year they had planned an overseas trip in September, but when the travel agent called to confirm the dates Mr Rynehart suddenly fell silent.
"He said 'I'll meet you there'," Mrs Rynehart laughed. In the end, travel plans were changed and Mr Rynehart kept his tradition going.
In 59 years of loving the game, Mr Rynehart has seen his share of extremes. In 1997, the same day Newcastle Knights legend Darren Albert was hospitalised with hypothermia after playing in brutally cold conditions at North Sydney, Mr Rynehart was spotted by commentators as the lone fan on the hill braving the freezing afternoon to see the game, but 2020 has proved an entirely different beast.
This week, Australian Rugby League commission chair Peter V'landys described the COVID-shorted NRL season this year as the hardest in history to win.
"There's never been a tougher season or a more worthy winner because of the challenges we had," Mr V'Landys said. "They haven't just gone through a normal season - they (other seasons) should all have asterisks.
"Because this season is the test of character, the test of everything.
"The team that wins this year is really a champion team, maybe more than any other year."
To be sure, in living memory there have been few instances of upheaval as turbulent in the sporting world as 2020. But somehow, a grand final awaits on Sunday and Mr Rynehart will be there to see it.