Veteran forward Adam Blair will become just the third New Zealander and the 36th player in total to join the NRL’s 300-game club when the Vodafone Warriors face the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Stadium in Robina on Friday night (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).
The 33-year-old Blair’s milestone also coincides with the Vodafone Warriors’ 600th match since entering the competition in 1995.
The 14th-round encounter will be Blair’s 34th appearance for the club in a career which has included 121 games for Melbourne (2006-2011), 71 for Wests Tigers (2012-2014) and 74 for Brisbane (2015-2017).
Raised in remote Panguru in Northland, the Whangarei Boys’ High School product made his first-grade debut against the Wests Tigers in the fourth round of the 2006 season and followed up with the first of his 48 Tests for the Kiwis later that year.
Blair becomes the fifth player to reach the 300-game mark while with the Vodafone Warriors. Kiwi legend Ruben Wiki (312) was the first in 2008 followed by Steve Price (313) in 2009, Ryan Hoffman (326) in 2017 and Simon Mannering (301) last year, the only player to appear in 300 games for the Vodafone Warriors and the second Kiwi on the list.
In a coincidence Blair’s 300th will be against the same opposition and at the same venue Hoffman reached the milestone two years ago. On that night he scored the first try of the match and converted the last – his only NRL goal – in a 34-12 victory.
Blair, Vodafone Warrior #223, was surrounded by family, team-mates and staff at a lunch in his honour today before being named at loose forward against Gold Coast on Friday night.
The intended top 17 to take on the Titans features two changes from the side beaten by Melbourne with Patrick Herbert and Jazz Tevaga named to return from injury.
Herbert has recovered from a leg complaint after missing last Saturday’s Storm contest while Tevaga is back from an ankle injury picked up after he’d been on the field for just eight minutes against Brisbane on May 25. He fills the vacancy created by prop Chris Satae’s one-match suspension for a dangerous contact charge.
The Vodafone Warriors go into the match on 10 points while the Titans are 15th on eight points after winning two of their last three games.
The Vodafone Warriors have a 68 per cent strike rate against the Titans – their best against all current NRL sides – winning 17 of 25 encounters between the two sides including 15 of the last 17 since 2011.
However, the Vodafone Warriors were on the end of a 12-36 defeat the last time the two sides met in Robina last July, the first time the Titans had won there since 2010.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v GOLD COAST TITANS
6.00pm, Friday, June 14, 2019
Cbus Super Stadium, Robina
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
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