Warriors have momentum to roll through finals: Blair
History highlights how tough it is to win the Telstra Premiership from outside the top four but regardless of where they finish the regular season, Adam Blair sees no reason why the Warriors cannot reach this season's "big dance".
The Kiwis enforcer is also happy to do a seemingly confusing dance of his own - all around the pack - if it helps ensure a prolonged playoff run.
The Warriors could finish in the top four with a victory over Canberra in Auckland on Friday night, providing a host of other results also go their way. A home final via sixth spot is more realistic but Blair isn't fazed where ever they ultimately wind up.
Canterbury were the last team to win the grand final from outside the top four when they achieved the feat from sixth place in 1995, beating Manly 17-4 in the decider. But this NRL season has been a tipster's nightmare, something that gives Blair hope of busting the Warriors' 23-year top-four hoodoo.
"I can't remember the last time it's been this close and I guess we're seeing over the last two to three weeks that anyone can grab a spot in the big dance," Blair said.
"It's just about lifting another gear, enjoying your football ... and turning up on the day ready to perform because if you don't turn up, you'll be out the door pretty quick."
With Simon Mannering and Shaun Johnson the only current Warriors to have played finals footy for the Auckland club, Blair's vast September experience will be critical.
The 32-year-old joined the Warriors this season after three successive finals appearances with Brisbane, including the heartache of a 2015 grand final loss to North Queensland. He was also a beaten grand finalist for Melbourne in 2006 but had his revenge when the Storm lifted the 2009 title, beating Parramatta 23-16. However, the title was one of two that were stripped from Melbourne due to salary cap rorts
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has used Blair at prop, lock and most recently in the second row and there was another slight shift in last Friday's 36-16 win over the Panthers to accommodate the return of Tohu Harris on the right edge.
While acknowledging it was great to have Harris's leadership and control back after seven rounds on the sidelines, Blair admitted being an ace constantly shuffled around the pack had created its own challenges.
"You know, I was starting to feel my feet a bit on the right too then Toh came back," Blair said of his shift to the left side. "I dunno what I'm doing [where he'll play] but whatever I do, it's just about me getting my job done for the team, making sure the people around me are confident in my ability, making sure I lift my energy and making sure I have good comms out there with players around me.
"I love September football, it brings the best out of players and I think the boys will enjoy this.
"You can't turn up here with your head in the ground. It's head up, chest out, enjoying what we do and playing some footy because at the end of the day it will most probably be do or die for us and you've got to play that way."
It won't be curtains if the Warriors lose to the Raiders on Friday but Blair does expect the match to have a finals football vibe.
"It's a massive game. The focus is going to be around Simon [Mannering's 300th NRL appearance] but we've got to make sure we have a clear focus around what our jobs are for this Raiders team.
"They're playing some good footy at the moment. So they'll bring a tough style of footy that is most probably going to be September [-esque] footy anyway."