HAVING been denied of a fitting farewell with Melbourne following a season-ending five-game suspension last year, things didn’t get much better for Adam Blair when he joined the Wests Tigers.
He was criticised, not just for forcing Andrew Fifita and Bryce Gibbs to Cronulla, but for his perceived poor start to the year as the pre-season premiership favourites found themselves glued to the bottom of the ladder following five consecutive losses leading into round seven.
But as Blair prepares to return to Melbourne tomorrow night for the first time since joining the Tigers, with his team flying high on a six-game winning streak, the maligned 26-year-old has surprisingly defended his knockers, admitting his start to the year warranted the scrutiny and criticism he received.
Advertisement: Story continues below
‘‘Everyone was watching how I played, and I thought [the criticism] was fair,’’ he said. ‘‘I wasn’t playing good footy, I knew that myself. All I wanted to do was be consistent for the club, play some good footy and help them out. I think now that we’re winning, I’ve found what I do for the team and what I need to do now.’’
Blair, who signed a lucrative deal last year that will have him at the Tigers until the end of 2015, is only just starting to find the form that once had him lauded as one of the game’s premier forwards.
He said he was guilty of trying to overplay his hand in the early stages of the season but, having simplified his role for the team, he believes he’s finally starting to find his feet at the joint-venture side.
‘‘I think I was trying to do too much,’’ Blair said. ‘‘I knew what I was doing but I felt I was trying to do too much. I just had to pull back a bit and try and stick together with the team. I felt like I was going one-out and doing a lot of things the Tigers don’t do.’’
While many Tigers fans, as well as Blair, have been critical of the Kiwi international’s impact for his new club, coach Tim Sheens said he hadn’t been disappointed by what Blair had brought the team.
‘‘He’s not here to score 10 tries a game,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘He’s not a spine player, he’s a worker, and he’s never let us down. He’s played almost every minute of every game, so we’re getting value.’’
While Blair’s on-field performance has met the requirements of his coach, his off-field actions aren’t where they need to be.
Sheens admitted he wanted Blair to take a senior role and provide some leadership at training, but believed it was only a matter of time before the former Storm enforcer feels comfortable enough to bark instructions to his new teammates.
‘‘He’s been pretty quiet actually, that’s probably something he’s growing [into],’’ Sheens said.
‘‘I liken him to Gareth Ellis. When Gareth came to the club he sat back and felt that he had to earn the right among the senior guys, and Adam has been a bit the same. I’ve encouraged him to open up more but he’s a very quiet guy who’d prefer to do his talking on the field.’’
The Tigers will take on a Storm outfit missing star trio Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk at AAMI Park tomorrow night.
They are fourth on the ladder, and while Blair believes they have the quality to win it all, he is refusing to look too far ahead. ‘‘I think we’ve got the players here to go all the way,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s early days at the moment.’’
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/eye-of-the-storm-blair-blows-hot-and-cold-in-the-west-20120606-1zwp1.html#ixzz1x3JknmwT
‘‘He’s not here to score 10 tries a game,’’ Sheens said.
sheens must post on this board.
goes from one extreme to the other.
sheens moved him from the edge into the guts after the warriors game.
he went from the 13th min til the 44th minute without touching the ball.
after moltzen made his break blair took 2 plays to get into position and was missing when fulton was looking for a ball runner.lawrence couldn’t get there after he twinged his hammy and blair only had to run 30m to get into position.
what ever you reckon sheens.
at least you finally saw the light.
we have dumbed it down for blair.couldn’t position himself or keep up in attack .
our left edge already looks better with rhino there for crying out load.at least he can sell a decoy.
can’t wait for ellis to be back where he should have been in round 1,the left edge.