For all the talk of Brisbane’s halves combination, injured Melbourne star Billy Slater believes it is an ex-Storm man behind the Broncos’ NRL rise.
While halfback Ben Hunt and five-eighth Anthony Milford have been dominating the headlines, Slater says former Melbourne player Adam Blair is a crucial part of Brisbane’s plans.
The New Zealand prop is averaging just under 29 tackles a game for the Broncos and 88 running metres.
But Slater believes it is unrecognised efforts, particularly with goal line defence, which make Blair such a useful player.
“Adam’s terrific at working at things and doing little things that people don’t notice,” Slater said.
“When he was under-fire and had a little bit of criticism coming his way he was still doing those team things.
“He’s a great player and a great pick-up for the Broncos.”
The Storm are preparing for Thursday’s final round clash with the Broncos on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
With a top four finish still a possibility, Slater says the Suncorp Stadium fixture has plenty riding on it and will also give the Storm a strong indication of where they’re at before finals.
“This will be our biggest test for probably two months,” he said.
“The Broncos are in great form, they’re defending really well so they give you nothing when you put up the ball and when they’ve got the ball they ask so many questions.”
In his absence due to a shoulder injury, Slater has helped youngster Cameron Munster step into the No.1 jersey.
Munster, who chose to sign with the Storm in 2013 despite interest from the Broncos, put in a man of the match display against North Queensland last weekend running 244 metres and busting 10 tackles.
Slater says the 20-year-old is only going to get better.
“He’s been doing terrific. He just seems to do all those little things right,” Slater said.
“He’s going to continue to improve as he matures through his career and he’s doing a terrific job for us at the moment.”