With a new NRL deal signed and a minor premiership sealed, Melbourne centre Cheyse Blair is riding high heading into their qualifying final against North Queensland.
Blair was a late inclusion in the Storm line-up to face Cronulla last Saturday night – with coach Craig Bellamy describing his recall as a “gut feeling”.
It paid off in spades with Blair scoring a try in each half to set up the emphatic victory to win the minor premiership.
Having just signed a two-year deal to stay in Melbourne, Blair said the match was the biggest of his 88-game career, which has featured stints at Parramatta and Manly before joining the Storm this season.
“It was a big game and I’m stoked I got to be a part of it and crossed the line for two tries,” the 24-year-old said.
“It’s a pretty good feeling but this week is a whole new ball game.”
It almost didn’t happen with Ryan Morgan named in the centres before Bellamy decided Blair – with his 194cm, 100kg frame – was the man.
“I just had a gut feeling I should put him in and that worked out so hopefully Cheyse can play another 80 minutes like that for as long as we’re in it,” Bellamy said.
“He’s a big and strong guy and if he keeps his mind on the job he’s hard to handle.”
Blair was stung by his axing after their round-23 loss to Canberra and said he was determined to make the most of another opportunity.
He said he valued Bellamy’s honest approach to his players.
“Craig’s very honest and straight up and if you don’t do your job you’ll get left out,” he said.
“I still came in and trained hard and prepared the same as I would every week to try and get that spot back and I’m glad I did.”
The Storm have beaten the Cowboys twice this season but after tasting defeat in their preliminary final at AAMI Park last year are on guard for anything from the defending champions on Saturday night.
“We’ve beaten them twice this year but they’re a very good side and they’ve hit their straps last three weeks,” Blair said.