For many staunch supporters this week's pursuit of the log o' wood is likely a case of getting our own back — as it was Waikato who lifted the Ranfurly Shield from the Magpies back in October 2015.

It could also be seen as a case of history repeating — as 52 years ago, in the September of 1966, Hawke's Bay took the shield from Waikato and set off on a three-season tenure.

And Napier's Graham Garner, a long-time Magpies supporter for about half a century and who for about 10 seasons was the team's kit man, is hoping he can get up to Hamilton for the Thursday night clash.

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"Oh I'd love to go up for it," he said, but added that at this stage, as he did not have a car on the road, it was all pretty 50/50 and "wait and see".

He was hoping to hear something from the rugby union, or any other staunch supporters who may have a spare passenger seat.

"I'll make every effort to get there because I would have to say we are in with a pretty good chance."

He has lost count of the number of games he has watched, and not just the Magpies through the years.

He's often at club matches and is something of a self-styled ambassador for the game.

And while he no longer helps with the playing kits he is still involved in the administrative side of things through his work as ballboys coordinator.

"I am definitely going to try to get to this one," Garner said.

But if getting to the game does not come off he will absolutely be taking in every last second of it on television.


"But it would be great to get up there."

Now 62, he has no idea how many times he has seen the Magpies in action but with a laugh simply said "quite a lot".

He's confident about one thing though, that the boys in black and white will spark a little more than they did when, after the disbanding of the Central Vikings they took on Waikato "up there" and got an absolute hammering.

He was reluctant to speculate on a possible final score in Thursday's challenge — didn't want to put the mocker on it.

"But we are very competitive at the moment so it looks good, and it's good to see Brad Weber back on our side."

Picking up the shield would be the icing on the cake for supporters like Garner, with the Magpies having enjoyed a strong start to the season.

And whether he'll be at Waikato Stadium or on the couch at home, there is no way he will miss another 80-minute dose of excitement.

"I just love the game ... and come on the Bay."