Blair buys into Manly spirit
Manly winger Cheyse Blair describes his side's golden point semi final loss as "shattering" but at the same time lauded that famous never-say-die Manly spirit.
It was a night of mixed emotions for the 22-year-old Roosters junior, who scored a try in his first ever semi-finals appearance after collecting back-to-back wooden spoons at Parramatta in 2012-13.
"I got my opportunity to come to what's been such a successful club the last 10 years," Blair told NRL.com after being promoted to the starting side to replace out-of-form wingman Jorge Taufua in the 18-17 loss on Saturday.
"Especially coming from Parramatta and two wooden spoons, coming to a competitive club, playing my first ever semi-final, I soaked up the atmosphere, got a try, but not close enough."
Blair said he is aware of the rumours about behind-the-scenes dramas at the club, but added the come-from-behind effort goes to show the players are all prepared to do anything for each other.
"That's what I've noticed is just how close these boys are, it makes me pretty proud to be a part of this team," Blair said.
"I know there's heaps of rumours going around but a lot of the boys are pretty loyal here, we'll have a good few days together right now, recuperate. Some of the boys will be playing rep footy and we'll get back into it in mid-November."
Blair couldn't put his finger on exactly what the difference is in Manly's approach but was happy to be a part of it.
"I don't know, it's just that mentality, everyone has that same mentality about working for their best mate. My previous clubs, sometimes we'd drop our heads and stuff like that but here they just keep going. Manly always just keep fighting to the 80th minute, which we did [on Saturday night].
"I don't think it's ever going to go away. ‘Tooves’ [coach Geoff Toovey] has done well this year, we finished equal first [on competition points], made the semi-finals. It's still a pretty successful year – 10 straight finals series, I'm hoping to be back next year and start Round 1."
Blair, who made 152 metres and three tackle breaks as well as scoring a try in that game, said his next personal goal was to keep fit in the off season and hope a big pre-season would see him retain a spot in the starting side for 2015.