Maori Kiwis All-Stars head coach Stacey Jones has chosen veteran Kiwi international Adam Blair to lead the side in Friday night’s historic Harvey Norman All-Stars match against the Australian Indigenous side at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
While he had a number of senior players to pick from, Jones said the Northland-born and bred 32-year-old Blair was a natural choice.
He announced the appointment to the team before their first training run together at Lakeside Stadium this morning.
“We’ve got a few leaders in there but Adam Blair will captain the team,” he said.
“We’ve got Jesse (Bromwich), Kev (Proctor), Dane (Gagai) and James (Tamou) as well who are all experienced players and will support Adam as senior leaders.
“Adam is a calming influence, he’s a competitor and the players respect him. Those are the things you look for in a captain.”
Vodafone Warriors back rower Blair, boasting 48 Tests for the Kiwis and 289 NRL games, is thrilled with the honour having also captained New Zealand.
“I was so excited when this game was first announced and absolutely pumped when I was selected,” he said.
“Now being offered the captaincy is really humbling. It’s a tremendous honour being able to lead this team into a match of such significance.
“I’m really proud of my culture and we’re all privileged having this opportunity to represent our heritage, who we are and to give something back to the people.”
In his role as captain, Blair is also set to lead the Maori Kiwis’ highly-anticipated haka on Friday night. The players have been practising a new haka to mark the occasion.