Manly a great test for Storm: Chambers
The injury clouds may already be circling the Melbourne Storm but centre Will Chambers says it will be all hands on deck in a bid to take home the two points from Brookvale Oval this Saturday night.
The Storm faces a tough assignment against Manly to kick off its 2014 campaign, with key personal in doubt to make the trip.
Justin O'Neill was last week ruled out for up to eight weeks after undergoing an arthroscope in his right knee while Matt Duffie will miss the season with an ACL injury, his second in as many years.
Compounding the concern is the fitness of Cooper Cronk, who will be given until Thursday to prove his fitness as reigning Dally M medalist battles to return to full strength following pre-season shoulder surgery.
Billy Slater is expected to make the trip to Manly but along with Cronk is yet to play competitive football since the World Cup last November.
But rather than sound the crisis alarm, Chambers says there is now an opportunity up for grabs.
"We've got a few good young kids coming through and they've got an opportunity now, so it's up to them if they want to take it or not," Chambers said.
"Kids like Richie Kennar, and Trav Robinson's coming back from his knee [injury] so there are opportunities there."
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Chambers was recently added to the Storm's leadership group by coach Craig Bellamy and despite admitting to being the shy type, the 25-year-old has taken on a more vocal role in the pre-season, particularly with the club's inexperienced backline.
"You just talk to them and give them pointers when they need it," said Chambers.
"Being tested under fatigue is a big thing when you get to the NRL but so far so good, the boys were going well in the trials so it's exciting."
Melbourne will be out on Saturday night to ensure there is no repeat of the 28-8 defeat the team suffered in last year's visit to Manly.
"It's going to be tough. They are a tough side, battle hardened, and you know what you're going to get from Manly," Chambers said.
"They're going to be physical, the crowd's going to get behind them and they've got the attacking out wide. It's going to be a good benchmark to see where we're at and how our pre-season's gone, it's exciting."
The modern day rivalry between Melbourne and Manly has risen from their success in recent years.
Both clubs have recorded top-four finishes in each of the past three seasons while each adding a premiership to the trophy cabinet.
"It's more of a mutual respect, of being around and being at the top for a long time," said Chambers.
"It's always physical when you go to Brookvale and I'm pretty sure it's going to be physical again on Saturday and we will be up for it."