Blair tackles life in reserve grade

MAURICE Blair has started his rugby league season with a win for the Melbourne Storm.

Not in the National Rugby League competition though.

The former Maryborough resident found himself in reserve grade for the opening round of the year.

Blair, who played for Rovers and Wallaroos in the Heritage City before joining the Panthers and then the Storm, turned out for the affiliate club, the Cronulla Sharks in the NSW Cup against the Illawarra Cutters at Wollongong's WIN Stadium.

The Sharks beat the Cutters, the feeder team for the St George Illawarra Dragons, 24-14.

Blair played at five-eighth in the game while his good mate, former Queensland Reds rugby union star Will Chambers, was in the centres.

Chambers scored a try in what was his first game for the Storm following a spell playing for Irish rugby union club, Munster.

While he was disappointed not have played in the top-flight against the Canberra Raiders, Blair, who helped Wallaroos win the Bundaberg Rugby League 2003 A- grade premiership, said he was looking forward rather than back.

"I'll just keep putting in the hard yards in training like I've done in pre-season," said Blair, who scored three tries in his 11 games for the Storm last season.

"If I keep doing that and playing well in reserve grade then hopefully I'll get a go in the NRL sooner rather than later."