Scouting Stories: Cheyse Blair

"It was his last chance"

Everyone knew that when Cheyse Blair boarded the plane to Melbourne in the hopes of rescuing his career.

It was late 2015 and he had just signed with Melbourne Storm, his fourth Club in six years.

Injuries had restricted him to 22 games in three seasons which meant a few eyebrows were raised when the Victorian side handed the once promising junior a life line.

"Cheyse was an elite young junior, a laid back one but an elite young junior," Storm recruitment manager Paul Bunn said.

"The Roosters signed him on enormous money. I think when you sign these young fellas on big money, it doesn't do them any good.

"He wandered from Club to Club. He got some injuries. He didn't concentrate enough on rehab. It took him a while to work out what rugby league was all about and how hard you've got to work.

"We knew he was getting out of Manly, we thought if that was the case we will take him on. He had to work hard."

Amidst all the uncertainty, that was the one thing Blair knew for certain when he landed in Melbourne.

This was his last shot and he was determined to make it count.

When it became known Blair was available Storm coach Craig Bellamy and Football Director Frank Ponissi caught up with the outside back for a coffee.

"Frank took a bit of a shine to him," Bunn said.

"He thought, 'this kid is telling me all the right things, I'm going to give him a go.'

"When Craig and Frank gave us the green light we signed him."

It proved to be an inspired move.

Blair earned his Storm debut in Round 9, 2016, scoring a breakaway try on the wing.

From there he retained his place at left centre in Craig Bellamy's side for the remainder of the season, scoring nine tries in 17 games, as he displayed the consistency that had eluded him in his career to date.

Blair even became a cult hero among Storm fans as he stepped out in the long-sleeved purple jersey.

While the last 12 months have been frustrated with injury, Blair is now well and truly part of an NRL family. He has embrace Storm and Melbourne as his home and both Club and city have been only too happy to welcome him.

"This was his last chance saloon," Bunn said.

"If he didn't make it down here he probably would have gone to England.

"You are just glad you can give him that opportunity to prove that he could still make it.

"A lot of credit goes to him but also a lot of credit to everyone who worked with him at Storm."