Ben Lama counts himself as a Blues fanatic - with the proof being his frequent trips to the side's games in Hamilton, Blues jersey and facepaint proudly on display.

"Everybody gives me hate when I go down to the 'Tron. I have to take it. I take a group of guys for protection," Mr Lama laughs.

A Blues season ticket holder, the 23-year-old and his friend Anton Chand have been nicknamed the Eden Park Guardians because of their constant support and distinctive facepaint.

The two always sit at the bottom of the South Stand, arriving early and staying late to cheer the players, and often get picked up by the television cameras.


Mr Lama, a ground handler for Air New Zealand, said getting to know other season ticket holders in that area added to every game day.

He felt the team was on the right track after a few seasons of disappointment. Of the current crop, flanker Steven Luatua is his favourite player. And all time? "The King. Carlos."