Blair not set for NRL retirement just yet

Maori All Stars co-captain Adam Blair says he has no immediate plans to retire from the NRL.
Maori All Stars co-captain Adam Blair says he has no immediate plans to retire from the NRL.

The end is nigh for Adam Blair's career - much to the New Zealand forward's surprise.

Blair cut a bemused figure when Maori coach David Kidwell claimed his co-captain was close to retirement as they sat together at the press conference for Saturday's NRL All Stars clash on the Gold Coast.

It seemed to be news to Blair.

He may be off contract at NRL club the Warriors this year but the 33-year-old clearly had no plans to hang up the boots any time soon.

The awkward moment arose when Kidwell tried to praise Blair but in the end sounded like he was delivering a eulogy for the veteran of 51 Kiwi Tests.

"I've known Adam since he was a 16-year-old kid down at the Melbourne Storm so I've seen his progression not only as a player but as a person," Kidwell said.

"He is now nearing the end of his career but for him to be able to co-captain the Maori side I know how much passion he has and how proud he is to be here."

Journalists immediately pounced on the comment, asking Blair if this would be his final game for the Maori and if retirement was on the horizon.

"I hope not," said Blair, who will share the Maori captaincy with Canterbury star Dallin Watene-Zelezniak against the Indigenous All Stars.

"I still have a couple of years left I reckon.

"I am still ticking over pretty well so it would be nice to go around again.

"I understand I am not far off it (retirement) but I am still feeling excited about playing rugby league."

Realising what he had started, Kidwell couldn't help but laugh.

"I have really put him in it here," he said.

Kidwell seemed to be squirming but Indigenous coach Laurie Daley reckoned his side may be the ones who are made to pay for the off the cuff comment.

"Smart move by the (Maori) coach to get him motivated for tomorrow night," Daley said.

Indigenous captain Joel Thompson added: "Yeah, he (Blair) is fired up now.

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Australian Associated Press