Melbourne centre Will Chambers says he feels better prepared for the Storm’s NRL finals campaign after playing all three State of Origin games this year.
After making his debut for Queensland last year, Chambers was a constant in Queensland’s series triumph over NSW in 2015 and believes the big-game experience will help heading into their preliminary final next Saturday at AAMI Park.
“Coming into the bigger games I feel I’m not as nervous as I used to be,” Chambers said on Friday.
“Having played three big games already this year holds you in good stead.”
The burly centre admitted that playing all three Origin games for the first time took its toll on his form mid-season, although he was among the Storm’s best in the closing rounds.
“Coming back to playing footy there’s a bit of a let-down and there was a probably a few weeks there where I was a bit flat but the coaching staff freshened me up well.”
Chambers has renewed his combination with Matt Duffie since the winger returned from long-term knee and shoulder injuries.
The pair complement each other, with Chambers rock solid in defence while Duffie’s aerial skills impress.
Unfortunately for the Storm, the pair only have a short-term future with Duffie leaving to play Super Rugby with the Auckland Blues.
“It’s sad to see him leaving at the end of the year so it would be good to see him finish on a good note,” Chambers said.
Chambers said beating the top three ranked teams in the Cowboys, Brisbane and Roosters in successive weeks had been a confidence boost after an inconsistent season.
“It’s really good for us because we’re starting to believe amongst ourselves and that’s the exciting part.
“We know next Saturday night is going to be another challenge for us because we’re playing for keeps so we have to turn up with the same mindset.”
The Melbourne players spent some time in a chilly Port Phillip bay off St Kilda as they recovered from a simulated game on Thursday night at AAMI Park.
They now have the weekend off before preparations resume for their grand final qualifier.
The Storm will face the winner of Saturday night’s semi-final between North Queensland and Cronulla.