National News

Blair an all-time NRL favourite of Bennett

Dismissed by Brisbane great Gorden Tallis as "one of the dirtiest players" in the NRL last year, Adam Blair has earned a much more desirable tag from Wayne Bennett ahead of his 250th NRL game.

Some of the game's biggest names may have played under Bennett during his 40 year coaching career but the Brisbane master mentor reckoned Blair was one of his "favourite all-time players".

Not usually one to give out individual compliments, Bennett heaped praise on the Kiwi international ahead of his milestone game against former club Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

"He's one of my favourite all-time players," Bennett said of the 30-year-old Broncos prop.

"It's a fair statement but it's the way he carries himself, the way he turns up every day, the way he plays, the way he interacts with the group.

"I just love what he brings."

It was in stark contrast to former Brisbane captain Tallis' scathing assessment of Blair barely 12 months ago after the Kiwi prop copped criticism for giving Brisbane teammate Sam Thaiday a chicken wing tackle in the 2016 trans-Tasman Test.

Tallis not only slammed Blair as dirty but claimed he was "disappointed" the mobile prop was allowed to wear the Broncos jersey.

But Bennett reckoned he was still counting his lucky stars that Blair opted to leave Wests Tigers for Brisbane in 2015.

"I couldn't believe we were going to be so fortunate," Bennett said.

"I was part of the 2008 New Zealand side and I realised just how good he was - he brings a lot of things with him.

"We were pretty lucky to grab him.

"He has got better each year here."

Tallis may feel differently but Bennett said Blair had not stopped being a positive influence on teammates.

"He has a great influence on our club," Bennett said.

"(Young forwards) Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai Junior - all those guys are influenced by him.

"Sam (Thaiday) has been great too but Adam is one of those guys who inspires people."

Blair made his NRL debut back in 2006 for Melbourne, had a frustrating stint at the Tigers (2012-14) before finding career best form at Brisbane.

© AAP 2017

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