NRL: Kiwi international finds form after ditching distractions

By Steve Jancetic

Adam Blair. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Blair. Photo / Getty Images

Wests Tigers forward Adam Blair has turned himself into a rugby league recluse in a bid to finally make good on the NRL club's huge investment in him.

The most maligned Tiger behind struggling superstar Benji Marshall, Blair has copped much of the blame for the club's poor run of results in recent years - not only for his own play but also the price the Tigers paid for his signature.

In order to obtain the New Zealand international, the Tigers shed a number of players - the likes of Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita both shipped off to Cronulla in order to accommodate the former Melbourne star.

Fifita's rise to NSW Origin representative has only added to the angst amongst Tigers fans, but with the two players to go head-to-head at Sharks Stadium tonight, Blair believes he is finally starting to make his mark.

He credits a reduction in the amount of rugby league in his life as key to his surge in form.

"It's always tough, things end up getting to you," Blair said of the criticism.

"When the times were tough I just got away from thinking about footy, just to clear my mind of watching footy, reading papers.

"Even having footy apps on my phone, I got rid of all that stuff, even got rid of Twitter.

"Those things get to you and as soon as I got rid of all those things I switched back on to what I need to do for myself."

It was the same sort of distance from rugby league he enjoyed in Melbourne, where the code struggles for attention.

"You barely watch any football [in Melbourne], don't get any Friday night games," Blair said.

"A lot of people down there have families and you get to go home and spend time with them and just take your mind off footy."

Never a big statistic man, Blair has produced his best two games for the club over the past fortnight, running for 140m and 123m in wins over Canberra and Melbourne after being switched to prop.

"It's a completely different position playing in the front row, a simpler job," Blair said.

"In this team you just carry the ball forward and work hard in defence.

"I'm a big team player and sometimes people don't see that on the outside.

"Maybe I don't get that much credit for it but I know myself I do everything I can for my mates."

- AAP

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