NRL: Warriors forward Adam Blair to captain New Zealand Māori against Indigenous All-Stars

Warriors forward Adam Blair.
Warriors forward Adam Blair. Photo credit: Photosport

Warriors star Adam Blair will lead the New Zealand Māori side in their All-Stars match against the Indigenous All-Stars.

The veteran forward was told the captaincy news by coach Stacey Jones on Monday morning.

The Māori side will showcase not only a formidable forward pack, but they have an exciting young halves combination in Kalyn Ponga and Jahrome Hughes.

Up front the Māori will be led by Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Jordan McLean and Tohu Harris.

Hooker Brandon Smith may be first-choice in the side for the pre-season clash at AAMI Park, but he says he's content to play second fiddle for the Storm this NRL season.

Smith is playing the waiting game behind Cameron Smith who recently extended his stay in Melbourne until at least the end of 2020.

Despite also been the New Zealand Test rake the 22-year-old Smith will again play a bench role for the Storm - although he's hopeful of playing more minutes.

Brandon Smith, 22, said being behind the world's best hooker made it easier to swallow.

"I know who I'm behind and that's why I'm a bit easier about it," Smith said on Monday.

"It's a learning curve. I'm getting to learn anything I can off the big man himself. It's good for me so I don't mind at all if I have to wait."

The Māori No.9 says what Smith, the NRL's most-capped player, teaches him and the other young Storm hookers is invaluable and why he's happy to take that over a starting role elsewhere.         

"I could be on the paddock playing hooker but the thing that Cameron does behind the scenes at training with me and the young hookers is second to none, and I don't think I'd get that at any other club and that's what is keeping me around," Smith said.

Smith said he'd been told by Melbourne he could expect more minutes this season as his elder started to wind down his career.

But he accepted his captain would still be top dog.

"They've said to me they want me to play a lot more hooker this year and, if I get that opportunity, I will try and take it with both hands.

"But it's depends on how the game is going - if the games are tight, I don't think they'e going to pull Cameron Smith off."