After delivering his best performance of the NRL season, Will Chambers has been put on notice by Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy that he wants more of the same in Saturday’s qualifying final against North Queensland.
The Queensland State of Origin centre missed three months mid-season with a fractured foot but starred in the Storm’s 20-point win over Cronulla on Saturday to seal the minor premiership.
Bellamy was delighted to see Chambers back to his aggressive best.
“It was a bad injury and it took a little while for him to get confidence in his foot but, with the way he’s running, I’m thinking he’s back,” Bellamy said.
“That was definitely his best game since he’s been back from injury and we are expecting him to pick up on that now and play like that every week.”
Chambers, 28, said he felt like he still had improvement in him, which would be needed if they were going to beat the defending champion Cowboys at AAMI Park.
“We’ve had two wins against them this year but they beat us in a prelim down here,” he said.
“Finals footy is a different time of year and the Cowboys are going to come down here with JT (Johnathan Thurston) and they’re going to throw a lot at us and we know we’re got to be on our ‘A’ game.”
Chambers was part of the Storm side who were outgunned 32-12 by North Queensland in the preliminary final last year at AAMI Park which ended their title hopes.
He said the heavy loss on their home turf still stung.
“It does to some extent but we’ve got a new playing group and there’s some young boys getting their first opportunity to play finals footy,” Chambers said.
“They’re a new generation and they take it all in their stride which is a good thing.”
One of that new breed is the NRL’s leading tryscorer, winger Suliasi Vunivalu, who crossed for his 22nd four-pointer against the Sharks in his debut season.
Chambers said 20-year-old Vunivalu was a special player.
“He’s a quality footballer and a very humble kid,” he said.
“He’s always willing to learn and he’s just taking it all in his stride and, on Saturday night, he will just go about his business again.”