Māori All Stars: A tough job but Blair's learnt from two of the NRL's greatest coaches

By Potaka Maipi

Adam Blair has gone from player to coach - and it's a tough job. Some say it's one of the toughest.

Adam and Isaac Luke were recently named Māori All-Star assistant coaches to head coach Benny Gardiner, the assistant coach for the Wests Tigers. 

"This must be the most nervous I've been for a long time because it's become a reality."

Adam has had two of the greatest as coaches during his playing career, Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm and Wayne Bennett with the Brisbane Broncos.

"What made Craig Bellamy a good coach is he had an opportunity to run a club from scratch. They were only a few years into the competition," Adam says.

"He rolls up in 2003 and he's been given the rights to do whatever he wants with the players. So mental toughness, discipline, commitment, competitiveness, all those things. And a defensive mindset, where he wanted players that were good defenders.

"That's what made Craig Bellamy a good coach when I turned up as a 15-year-old."

Adam was at a crossroads in his career when he joined the Broncos and he says Wayne Bennett helped him gain his love back for the game.

"It was at a time when I most probably wasn't enjoying the game as much. But what Wayne did, he gave me the belief in my ability. 

"Wayne is a mentor, a father figure, and everyone knows that from afar," he says. 

"But what he does do also well, is gives you the belief in who you are as a person and the way that you play - so that you can go out there and put what you do well on the field." 

Put the best of the two coaches together, and Adam says "I've got the master." However, he says Bellamy has had the greater influence on him.

"Only because everything I do now, I still do what I did when I was 15 years old.

"When I help kids out now, all the information I got when I was 15, 16, 17 all the way up until 2011 when I left at the end of that year, is everything that I learnt down there (in Melbourne)," Adam says.