Blair reveals Warriors' 'rude shock' over new fitness regime
Veteran recruit Adam Blair admits his new Warriors teammates copped a "rude shock" when famed fitness guru Alex Corvo showed them a whole new world of hurt over the off-season.
Corvo is the strength and conditioning coach Craig Bellamy always vowed he would have a job for if he ever coached at NRL level, who for 11 years helped build the Melbourne Storm into the game's most successful club since the turn of the century.
Calling a spade a bloody shovel as he picked over another failed Warriors campaign last year, Stephen Kearney called on Corvo from Brisbane, where the pair both served under Wayne Bennett.
Blair was right there with them and is better qualified than most when it comes to Corvo's take no prisoners approach to rugby league conditioning; he almost packed the whole caper in after his first Storm pre-season under the ex-Raiders forward as a 16-year-old.
Blair, now 31, happily points out he missed the most gruelling two months of the 2017/18 summer due to his Test commitments with New Zealand, but he has no doubt the wider Warriors squad would've been wondering what they had signed up for at one point or another.
And after a 32-20 round one thumping of South Sydney, in which the side cut a visibly leaner and meaner collective figure, Blair is similarly sure of where the starkest improvement lies.
"I didn't come back (to pre-season training) until January so they had 10 weeks with Alex before I turned up," Blair told NRL.com.
"And that would have been the hardest 10 weeks by far so they all got that rude shock.
"But these boys, they're hungry, they're keen and they'll do anything. I've had Alex for a while now so I understand what he brings. It's been another tough pre-season again, like every other one.
"But I guess for the Warriors it was a bit of a shock to the system because everyone had heard about Alex and all the things that he's done in the past.
"He's been at some great clubs, got them to do some great things and they've played consistent finals footy.
"And he's just bought the same attitude, accountability and hunger to work hard here.
"This team, they just need the guidance which is where Alex comes in and helps with his expertise, and I think it's showing with the fitness and way we're playing so far."
Corvo's love of running, running and then running some more is well known throughout the game.
For Warriors players who weren't involved in the World Cup, that's exactly what they did come November, with the toil seeing hooker Issac Luke drop some six kilos down to the lightest playing weight of his career.
It's the same approach that delivered a swag of silverware in Melbourne, and then saw Corvo transform Brisbane's lightweight forward pack into the NRL's fittest on their march to the 2015 grand final.
Which is exactly where Blair, starting out on a lucrative three-year deal after previous Warriors' attempts to lure him home, sees the real reward eventually coming.
A return to the pointy end of the NRL season, and an end to the club's seven-year finals drought.
"I think we should be playing finals footy, without a doubt," Blair says.
"I think throughout the years, from the outside looking in, they've had the calibre of players there.
"And now being here, there are some really good people here that are willing to put everything into the club to get them back to where they should be.
"I think this first win, we've put our feet in the right direction. Now it's a case of being consistent from here on and throughout the season."