AS MUCH as he enjoyed his first taste of second-row, Castleford Tigers’ Cheyse Blair is looking to make sure he reclaims his favoured centre role tonight.
Due to the club’s injury problems, the Australian, who arrived from Melbourne Storm last May, played in the pack during Sunday’s opening round win over Toronto Wolfpack and duly impressed.
However, with Pete Mata’utia – the full-back switched to centre by coach Daryl Powell this term – starting a two-game ban tonight, Blair reverts to his original position for Wigan Warriors’ visit.
He started 18 games at centre last season and said: “Obviously, that’s what Cas signed me for – as a centre. I had a bit of a setback in pre-season (broken foot) which is why Pete got first crack at it.
“I actually don’t mind where I play as long as I’m playing footy. But hopefully I can get centre now and I know this is a chance.”
That said, standing six feet four inches tall and weighing around 16 stone, you can understand why the strong-running former Manly player could be well-suited to the forwards.
Blair, 28, said: “I’d never played back-row before last week.
“I’d done a little bit of training there at Melbourne before joining Cas but never actually played.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it, though. I had to get through 80 minutes but was happy to do that and it’s still the same sort of game for me - running hard in the channels. Just more work.”
The return of England second-row Oli Holmes now facilitates his switch back to centre as Castleford – still missing nine players – look to make it two wins from two.
Wigan beat Warrington Wolves 16-10 last Friday but Blair said: “I thought Warrington were probably the better team.
“They had two players off the pitch at one point and down to 11 men. But I am looking forward to it; Wigan are always a big team and we have a bit of rivalry against them.”
On his aims for 2020, he added: “I just want to be consistent.
“Last year I came over midway and probably didn’t play my best football after coming from a top club in the NRL.
“For me, it is doing what I am capable of and doing it week in, week out really.”