Once mocked for his apparent lack of effort, Adam Blair is now being asked to assess Brisbane’s NRL premiership mettle after a gutsy turnaround.
And Blair likes what he sees, admitting there are similarities with his former grand final-winning Melbourne Storm outfit.
The New Zealand forward was dubbed “Teddy Blair” and compared with a soft toy after producing just one hit-up in 41 minutes against Cronulla in March – reportedly the worst effort by an NRL prop in almost two decades.
Fast forward three months and Blair is making headlines for all the right reasons.
So much so that the ex-Storm grand final winner has been asked to gauge Brisbane’s title hopes after they maintained top spot with their remarkable 14-12 victory in Melbourne.
Blair admitted the Broncos’ weekend effort reminded him of the Melbourne side that he toasted a 23-16 NRL grand final win with in 2009.
“Yes. So far. Defence is massive and …we showed how we can defend when times are tough,” Blair said.
“I think those are the key things that can take you a long way in the competition.”
Blair said he could now laugh off the “Teddy Blair” headline.
“I got used to that mate down in Sydney,” said Blair, who spent 2012-14 at Wests Tigers, of the critics.
“It’s about making sure I work hard for my mates and if my mates think I am doing a good job then I am happy that I am helping them out.”
Blair may have been ridiculed for his lack of stats back in March but the Kiwi giant said he prided himself on aspects of the game that were hard to measure.
“Throughout my career from down in Melbourne I make sure I do those one percenters that nobody really notices but your teammates,” he said.
“For me it is about going out there and doing those little things every week.
“Obviously I don’t make the most hit-ups in a team or the big special plays but I pride myself in turning up on the last tackle and putting some kick pressure or some inside pressure on when they’re trying to take the ball off the line.”
Blair stood tall as Brisbane braved 11 goal-line dropouts and completed 69 tackles in their own 20m zone in one of the great defensive efforts against Melbourne.
And all without rested Origin players Justin Hodges and Corey Parker.
Brisbane captain Hodges said the effort was enough to make fans “proud of the Broncos again”, describing it as the club’s greatest defensive stand.
But Blair demanded a similar effort against lowly Newcastle at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
“That can all come undone if we go out on Friday night and don’t stick to our structure,” he said.