Although he won't admit it, Adam Blair's performance in Brisbane's 32-6 win over the Dragons on Friday night demonstrated why he was the missing link for the Broncos.
Rubbed out for two weeks for a late shoulder charge on Titans half Kane Elgey in Round 20, the Broncos missed Blair's telling contributions in their recent defeats against the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs.
However, the 209-game veteran came back with a bang at Suncorp Stadium as Brisbane snapped a two-game losing streak to further enhance their grip on the minor premiership.
Since his insipid performance against the Sharks in Round 2, where he only managed one hit-up in 40 minutes, Blair has been a revelation for the completion leaders.
The 29-year-old churned out 100-plus metres and more than 25 tackles for a fifth consecutive game on Friday night, drawing praise from one of the NRL's greatest work horses, Brisbane teammate Corey Parker.
"He's been missed for the past two weeks," Parker said.
"It's just his little things around the ruck that have really helped the side.
"There's no stats on that but it's those little effort things that go a long way to winning games – it's good to have him back."
The New Zealand international made 136 metres from 13 carries against the Dragons, while chipping in with 33 tackles and four offloads in a 51-minute display.
Despite statistics failing to highlight the little nuances in Blair's game such as kick and tackling pressure, the man himself says his job is about competing until the final whistle.
"For me it's about not letting anyone down – in my job it's never over until the ball has left someone's hand or left someone's foot," Blair said.
"I'll keep competing right until the end of the 80th minute."
Meanwhile, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett was happy with the way his side bounced back after two straight losses.
Defence was the key to Brisbane's victory as the home side only had 47 per cent of possession in the first half and had to make 32 tackles while defending their own line.
"We responded pretty well last week [against the Bulldogs] and we were much better with the footy tonight – it was a pretty good outcome," Bennett said.
"Our ball control was pretty good, we defended great last week and we defended well again tonight.
"If you haven't got the football you need to be defending and we defended well. It pleases me but at the same time I'd like to build some pressure ourselves.
"We were strong enough to defend them and everyone's got the confidence to be able to do that."