When Wayne Bennett recruited Adam Blair as part of his overhaul of the Brisbane roster, some questioned whether he had bought a lemon, but he knew he had got a Ferrari.
The seven-time premiership winner said he never questioned Blair could recapture the form that he displayed early in his career when he was considered the world’s best prop.
Blair has reinvented himself since shifting to the Queensland capital this year and breathed new life into what was a stalling career.
After appearing in three grand finals for Melbourne in his first four years of first grade, Blair was labelled “washed up” and a “dud” in the press during a stint at the Wests Tigers from 2012-14.
But Bennett has weaved his magic with the Kiwi Test front-rower and he has been one of the Broncos’ best contributers during their charge to the grand final.
Criticised for his poor work rate and lack of effort at the Tigers, he was averaged 51 minutes, 81 run metres, 14 carries and 24 tackles a game in 2015.
But that only tells part of the story.
He has accumulated an impressive highlights real of bone-rattling hits and has set the defensive standard for his teammates.
Bennett first worked with Blair while part of the New Zealand coaching staff during the 2008 World Cup.
He said the experience of working up close and personal with Blair gave him a rare insight and he never doubted attratcing him to the Broncos would prove an astute move.
“I just loved his attitude and I loved what he brought,” Bennett said on NRL360 on Fox Sports.
“Melbourne produce a lot of wonderful players because they’ve got a great system and a great culture there.
“He went to the Wests Tigers there and I couldn’t believe it was the same player. I felt for him. I knew he hadn’t lost it but I knew that something was impacting on him.
“By some miracle we got him. Without going into the full story, it was a miracle that we got him. But I was so pleased that we did get him and he’s added so much to us.”