Hornets snare John Blair
Aspley have produced a recruiting coup by signing four-time premiership coach John Blair to lead the Hornets through the next two NEAFL premiership seasons and beyond.
Hornets president Tony Tucker admitted that he and his Board had been 'relentless' in their pursuit of Blair, one of the all-time great coaches in QAFL/NEAFL history.
"We said openly that we wanted the most highly qualified, experienced and successful coach available and John Blair was No.1 on our hit list," Tucker said.
"To say we are delighted to have secured his services would be an understatement."
Blair has only been out of the game for 12 months after taking Morningside to the 2011 grand final.
He coached the Panthers on a League-record 328 occasions across two stints, the second from 2002-2011.
The challenge of attempting to lead Aspley, who have only competed at State League level for the past four seasons, to their first premiership at the top level was the prime motivating factor in Blair's return to the coaching hot seat.
"People chop and change jobs and I have a lot of fond memories of Morningside," Blair said. "But at the end of the day, Aspley is an appealing challenge.
"It's a new frontier and the belief of being involved in getting the first one is very stimulating," Blair said.
"I also appreciate that Aspley are a well-structured and well-run club – everything about it is appealing."
Blair is one of the giants of Queensland football.
After playing 33 games with South Melbourne, Fitzroy and St Kilda, he joined Morningside as captain-coach in 1981 and took the club to successive grand finals from 1982-84.
He won the Grogan Medal for the best player in the competition in 1982 and Ray Hughson Medal as leading goal kicker in 1985, where the Panthers were eliminated in the preliminary final.
Blair won his first premiership as player at Windsor-Zillmere in 1988 and later assisted Robert Walls at the Brisbane Bears.
Blair re-joined Morningside when the club was at a low ebb on and off the field, and turned the Panthers into a powerhouse on limited resources.
They won back-to-back flags in 2003-04 and 2009-10 and finished no lower than third for nine consecutive seasons.
"Queensland footy needs people like John Blair," Tucker said. "Someone with his experience, skills and success can't be left sitting on the sidelines, I am so grateful and immensely excited that he has committed to our footy club for the next two seasons.
"We want to establish ourselves as a real force in the competition and with John at the helm we believe we can achieve this goal