Brisbane believe they have added the last piece in Wayne Bennett’s NRL puzzle by luring Kiwi powerhouse Adam Blair from the Wests Tigers.
The Broncos on Tuesday signed Blair to a three-year deal after the New Zealand forward’s release from the final season of his Tigers’ contract.
The 28-year-old endured a rollercoaster stint at the Tigers, labelled a flop in 2012 when he signed as a big-money recruit from Melbourne.
But Blair has shown great durability in the past two seasons, playing every match for the Tigers in 2013 and ’14, before finishing this year on a high with the Kiwis.
The 30-Test stalwart’s performance in the Four Nations triumph over Australia on Saturday night showed what an asset he could be for a Brisbane outfit lacking starch and size up front.
Prodigal coach Bennett had been on the lookout for a quality prop since Ben Hannant signed with North Queensland and Martin Kennedy (Sydney Roosters) and David Hala (Gold Coast) were shown the door.
“Adam is a highly experienced player,” Brisbane chief executive Paul White said. “He has enormous experience at both NRL and representative level, and will bring toughness and leadership to the Broncos’ squad.
“And at 111kg, he will also add some more size to our forwards’ stocks.”
Bennett is also set to officially reveal Darius Boyd as another star recruit in coming days, following the acquisition of Anthony Milford, Mitch Garbutt, James Gavet, Travis Waddell and Greg Eden.
Blair will begin pre-season training at Red Hill after Christmas, with new Tigers coach Jason Taylor granting him his release to relieve some salary-cap pressure.
Although the Tigers have also recently released Blake Austin and Bodene Thompson, and let Gavet and Cory Paterson go, Taylor has stressed the club won’t make any new signings for next season.
He aims to back his youth and take a strategic, long-term approach to recruitment.
“We’re planning for long-term success here and any decisions regarding signing new players will be made with this in mind,” Taylor said.
“We have a great group of young players coming through the Wests Tigers’ system and, from what I’ve seen of them so far, I’m confident that they will develop into a strong group of NRL players.”