Storm's Blair aware of Bennett factor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm's Blair aware of Bennett factor

By Melissa Woods 10/03/2009 05:35:06 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne forward Adam Blair knows all about the Wayne Bennett factor.

Blair was a member of the unheralded New Zealand team, with Bennett in an assistant coach role to Stephen Kearney, which upset Australia to win last year's rugby league World Cup.

The competition's most successful coach, with six premierships, moved from Brisbane to St George Illawarra this season where he's attempting to end their 30-year title drought.

Blair said Bennett had an "aura" and inspired players who produced their best for him but he hoped the Storm could match that when they played the Dragons on Friday night in the 2009 NRL season opener at Olympic Park.

"As soon as he (Bennett) talks everyone sticks their heads up and listens to him," said Blair.

"He doesn't have to yell or swear, everyone is listening.

"He'll have a good game plan, he'll bring aggression.

"He gives teams a lot of confidence."

Blair said Bennett was well versed in the Storm's game and players.

"He knows a few of our flaws in how we play so he'll be telling them what we do well and what they need to keep up and in control," he said.

Blair had no doubt Bennett would have the Dragons, notoriously slow starters, primed for the start of the season.

"I don't know if the Dragons have had a problem with attitude but that's all going to be changed with how Wayne trains and what he brings to the side," he said.

"I think the boys will give it their all."

Despite the short off-season following the World Cup, Blair said he felt fresh and ready for action.

He will start the match at prop alongside Jeff Lima, with Brett White - who had been troubled by off-season foot surgery - on the bench.

"I'm ready to go, I can't wait for it," Blair said.

"It's the first round, you want to go out there and make your mark on the game."

In other team news, Willie Isa won the race for the centre spot made vacant by the departure of Israel Folau to Brisbane in the off-season.

Isa edged out Joseph Tomane and Dane Nielsen, with Will Chambers returning from injury to secure the other centre spot.

Greg Inglis will start the game at five-eighth.

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