Melbourne Storm forward Adam Blair is poised to cash in on the widespread interest in him from rival clubs when he comes off contract at the end of the season, with speculation he could earn up to $500,000 a season.
Blair, who has replaced Greg Inglis to join superstars Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk as a member of Melbourne’s so-called ”fab four”, has attracted the interest of rival clubs including Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels. However, some are believed to have baulked at the back-rower’s asking price.
The NRL player market has a glut of star-studded players coming off contract at the end of 2011 including Braith Anasta, Jamal Idris, Greg Bird, Darren Lockyer, Darius Boyd, Kade Snowden, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, John Sutton, Justin Hodges, Chris Lawrence and Melbourne’s player of 2010, Ryan Hinchcliffe.
A representative from the Titan management group that represents Blair said his company would not be negotiating through the media. However, the Storm made it clear Blair was at the top of their list and coach Craig Bellamy indicated he was a priority signing.
Bellamy urged the vice-captain of the world champions New Zealand Test team to stay put, describing the 24-year-old as a potential skipper for the club.
Melbourne’s strategy is seemingly to make Blair realise his place in the club by elevating him to NRL superstar status. He was selected to represent the club at the NRL’s launch, and the Storm insisted he appeared in The Sun-Herald’s photo alongside Smith, Slater and Cronk.