Maurice Blair
Maurice Blair Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

Sporting couple's long-distance love worth it for Tairi

COURTNEY Tairi might be based in New Zealand for six months a year while she plays for the Southern Steel in the trans-Tasman Championship, but her heart is in Melbourne.

That's because her partner is Melbourne Storm centre Maurice Blair, and he's home alone.

The couple celebrate their sixth-year anniversary in October after meeting while out and about in Penrith one night while Blair was playing for the Panthers.

Their long-distance romance started last year when Tairi, a midcourter, joined the Steel after three seasons with the NSW Swifts.

She did not enjoy the best of seasons, tearing the ACL in her right knee in only her sixth game, but it's a different story this year.

She is firing on all cylinders, and the Steel is sttting fourth after beating defending champion, Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic, 65-58 on Saturday, the first time they have won four in-a-row since 2010.

Not only is the Steel looking like serious contenders to contest the finals, but Tairi is also doing her best to impress national selectors - New Zealand ones that is.

Although she was born and raised in Sydney, Tairi is eligible for the Silver Ferns through her New Zealand parentage.

She was included in a Silvers Ferns squad last year ... then she got injured.

Speaking from Dunedin yesterday, Tairi said she couldn't wait to play the Vixens this week ... in Melbourne.

"The club is great - they let me travel early to Australia which gives me more time with Maurice," Tairi, who admitted to having soft sport for the Cronulla Sharks, said.

"Living in two different countries is not too bad nowadays because of all the modern technology, but it can still be tough.

"If we both win a premiership it will all be worth it."

But was does Blair know about netball?

"I don't think he knew too much when we met. He knows a bit more now," she said with a laugh.

As for Blair, he said he was looking forward to seeing his girlfriend play the Vixens, and have her home for a while.

"She's played awesome this season. I'm very proud mate," he said.

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