Panguru Boy joins NRL 300 Club

By James Perry

Adam Blair will become the latest Warrior to reach the 300 NRL game milestone when he takes the field this Friday night on the Gold Coast.

The front rower becomes the fifth player to wear the Warriors jersey in their 300th match, joining Ruben Wiki and former captains Steven Price, Ryan Hoffman and Simon Mannering.

He will be the 36th player to join the 300 club, something the Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi league player never imagined when he left his whānau behind as a 16-year-old to chase his dream.

"When I signed to leave New Zealand, I was going for two years and then coming home," he said today, "But then it came to a point where that two years came up pretty quickly and I was loving it that much that I wanted to stay."

It will be a double celebration on Friday on the Gold Coast, Blair’s milestone is also the Warriors’ 600th NRL match since their first game against the Brisbane Broncos in 1995.

It will be Blair’s 34th match for the Auckland club.  He made his NRL debut for the Melbourne Storm in 2006, playing 121 games for them before adding 71 games for Wests Tigers between 2012 and 2014.  He also wore the gold and maroon of the Brisbane Broncos 74 times before relocating back to Aotearoa prior to last season.

He says while he was happy playing just one NRL game, he was determined to become the best rugby league player he could be. 

"I didn't want to be that person who went away and came back to Panguru or Whangarei and all the mates ask you 'what happened?'  I guess I'm a competitor and I put a lot of pressure on myself and if it didn't work out I was staying over there anyway so I didn't have those people asking me those questions.  Even if I didn't play rugby league I'd most probably be working out somewhere in Australia."

Blair has been named to start at lock for the Warriors on Friday night.  The side features two changes from the side that lost 32-10 to the Storm on Saturday night, with Patrick Herbert and Jazz Tevaga set to return from injury.

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)

2 DAVID FUSITU’A

3 PETA HIKU

4 PATRICK HERBERT

5 KEN MAUMALO

6 KODI NIKORIMA

7 BLAKE GREEN

8 AGNASTIUS PAASI

9 ISSAC LUKE

10 LEESON AH MAU

11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I

12 TOHU HARRIS

13 ADAM BLAIR

Interchange:

14 JAZZ TEVAGA

15 BUNTY AFOA 

16 LACHLAN BURR

17 KARL LAWTON

18 GERARD BEALE

20 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

21 LIGI SAO

23 LEIVAHA PULU

HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY