An emotional Sharks recruit Will Chambers paid tribute to his old Storm coach Craig Bellamy ahead of his awkward debut for Cronulla against Melbourne in Round 8.
Chambers finds himself playing for one of the Storm’s arch rivals after his Japanese Rugby deal came undone due to the COVID pandemic.
The 32-year-old scored 82 tries in 215 games for the Storm in two stints from 2007 to 2019 winning premierships in 2012 and 2017 and thanked Bellamy for putting his mind at ease ahead of his return to the Storm in an opposition jersey.
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“I left home at 13 and went to boarding school, then went from boarding school to Melbourne as a 17-year-old and Craig became my father figure in a lot of senses,” Chambers said.
“He mentored me on and off the field. The last thing he did for me at Melbourne Storm was give me life membership.
“I just rang him to say ‘this is what I’m thinking of doing’ and he told me to go and have a crack at it and give it my best go.
“He said ‘if you take a positive approach towards it and do what you’ve done for such a long time at [Melbourne], take the bull by the horns and have a crack at it, you never know what could happen’.
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“I sat down with him for two or two-and-a-half hours and spoke to him about footy, about life and at the end of the day he said if it’s going to put a smile on your face and your family, your wife’s face, go and have a go at it.”
The fact that the veteran centre has ended up at one of the Storm’s fiercest modern rivals is not lost on Chambers.
The Storm and the Sharks have had many epic battles over the years most notably the 2016 Grand Final and Chambers admitted he was nervous to meet some of his old foes when he signed with the Shire club.
“I was always nervous about coming back here because of the rivalry,” Chambers said.
“I had a chat to all of them and made sure I had all their blessings in coming here because I said some pretty offensive stuff back in the day on the footy field and as Gal would say to you, what happens on the footy field stays on the footy field.
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“What’s happened has happened, I dare say I’ll be saying something back to Melbourne this weekend, it wouldn’t worry me. It’s part of the game, everyone says something at some stage, we’ll see how it all pans out.
“I’m proud and privileged and honoured to get the opportunity to pull this jersey on and I’m looking forward to Friday night.”
Originally published asChambers breaks down over ‘father figure’ Bellamy ahead of awkward Sharks debut
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