To many teams, Adam Blair — age 28 with eight full seasons in the NRL — could well be just another experienced forward providing a solid platform in the middle of the field. His knowledge and wisdom over the years would be appreciated, no doubt, but perhaps no more than any other experienced forward playing at the Club at the time.
For Wests Tigers, though, Blair is an invaluable leader and a vital cog a Mick Potter machine that is starting to build up a full head of steam this year.
An international representative for New Zealand since he was 20, Blair’s 174 games in the NRL don’t truly reflect the depth of his experience and insights — having played in Grand Finals, World Cup finals and everything in between.
It’s no coincidence that when you ask several of the Club’s young forwards such as James Gavet, Ava Seumanufagai and Martin Taupau, they all herald Blair as the biggest help to them settling into the culture and team at Wests Tigers.
Blair understands the system, and helps the system run to the best of its ability.
That’s not to say that the former Whangarei-local isn’t without fault, though, with Blair being the first to put his hand up and pick out where he needs to improve. But now, with his job description sharpened by Potter and the Club’s coaching staff, Blair is thriving so far in 2014, and has an even clearer mind on what he needs to do for the team.
“I’ve been moved around a lot [throughout my career] given that I can cover a lot of different positions,” said Blair, “but I think now that I’m the lock of the Wests Tigers, it’s given me a better description of what my role is for the team.”
“I know what my job requires and I think that if I can go out there every week just trying to do that, then I’ve done my job for the team.”
“I know what my job requires and I think that if I can go out there every week just trying to do that, then I’ve done my job for the team..."
It’s that sharpened mindset that’s seen Blair thrive so far this season, and retain his spot in the New Zealand side that played Australia earlier in the year. And while Blair admits that there is a temptation to “live beyond his role” and try to do too much for the team, he continues to remind himself that it must not come at the expense of doing his own job.
Such clarity is crucial with two of the Club’s leaders — captain Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods — both currently absent on State of Origin duties.
“There’s certainly a need to step up [with those guys gone],” reflected Blair, “but I’m not going out there thinking that it needs to be me to step up.
“I think I’ve thought that sometimes over the last couple of years and I think that’s what has kind of got me away from doing my job well.
“I just know that if I do my role for the team to the best of my ability, that will be a leading role for me and people will lead of that and follow me.
"I think that’s my main focus and that’s been my main focus all year — just getting my job done and nailing it — and everything else just work itself out.