Kiwi has eyes on Cup win
MELBOURNE Storm centre Maurice Blair ended the NRL season without winning any silverware this year after Newcastle sent the defending champion packing in the finals.
His partner, New Zealand Silver Ferns wing attack Courtney Tairi, is determined that will be the only disappointment of the year for their household, but she knows there is plenty of work to be done before the pair can celebrate any success.
You can be sure that the Australian Diamonds will have a say in whether they actually do at the end of the Constellation Cup series.
The five-Test series resumes with game three in Adelaide tonight, and honours are even following the first two Tests in New Zealand last month.
Tairi, 25, made her Test debut during the Kiwis' 55-51 victory in the opener in Invercargill before the Aussies levelled the series against the Cup holders with a 47-45 victory in Auckland.
With the final three Tests to be played on Australian soil, Tairi said she and her teammates are bracing themselves for an Aussie onslaught, both on the court, and from the crowd.
"Both games have been really physical so far and I am certain it won't be any different in this game," Tairi told APN yesterday.
"There is no doubt that they have been the most physical, and the fastest, of my career - I have never played in anything like it.
"My teammates warned me about just how hard the 60 minutes would be and they were not lying.
"I know I have a lot to work on, but it has been a fantastic learning curve.
"I cannot wait to get back out there and mix it with them again. I cannot wait to pull on that black outfit again."
Tairi sounds more like an Australian than someone from across the other side of the ditch, but that's no surprise - she was born and raised in Sydney to Kiwi parents, and that's how she qualifies to play.
She also spent five seasons playing for the NSW Swifts before joining Kiwi side, Southern Steel, two seasons ago.
She's knows there will be plenty of her former NSW fans that won't be cheering for her tonight.
"When have you known Aussies to cheer for a Kiwi?" she laughed. Maurice Blair is sure to be an exception.
Meanwhile, Australia's former Queensland Firebirds goal attack Natalie Medhurst will become the 22nd Aussie to reach the 50-Test milestone tonight, and she'll do it in her hometown.
Medhurst made her Test debut against Jamaica in Sydney in July 2007.
The fourth Test is in Melbourne on Monday night before the final game in Canberra on October 13.
2010 - Australia 2 NZ 1
2011 - Australia 3 NZ 2
2012 - NZ 2 Australia 1