Veteran forward Adam Blair continued to stake his claim for a return to the NZ Kiwis with another strong performance in the NRL over the weekend.
Blair (Kiwis #732) turned in another barnstorming display for the Wests Tigers in their 21-18 victory, running for 145 metres and making 30 tackles.
Having already caught the eye of coach Stephen Kearney with his form this season – his third with the Tigers – Blair (28) is again knocking on the door of national selection.
Since switching from Melbourne Storm that year, he has struggled to meet the expectations of Wests fans, but has now become a key element in the club’s surprise 5-2 start to the season.
“He was again outstanding and it’s no co-incidence that the senior guys in that team, like Blairy, have been playing great,” says Kearney.
“I think it always takes a while to get used to a new environment and the timing of him arriving at Wests wasn’t good either.
“He’s had to deal with a change of coaching and different styles, but things have become more settled for him now. He’s part of a young, hungry team and he’s able to focus on the things he does well.”
Another to continue his great form was five-eighth Kieran Foran, who now faces an anxious battle for fitness leading into next week’s Anzac Test in Sydney.
Foran (Kiwi #757) was arguably the star of Manly’s 26-21 win over North Queensland Cowboys, scoring a try and running for 115 metres, but tweaked a knee in the process and has been ruled out for his club this weekend.
Early signs are that Foren may be out for as long as four weeks, but Kearney is taking a “wait-and-see” attitude to his on-field general and intends giving him every chance to make the playing line-up for May 2.
“Mr Consistency” Jason Nightingale (Kiwi # 747) was another to catch the coach’s eye, scoring an acrobatic try and running 167 metres for St George-Illawarra in their 20-10 result over the NZ Warriors.