Chambers itching for Origin glory

It was the Origin itch he simply had to scratch and now that he is entrenched in the Maroons set-up Will Chambers is determined to continue the legacy established by senior Queensland players over the past decade.

In 2014 Chambers joined Willie Carne and Wendell Sailor as the only three players to have represented Queensland in both Origin and Super Rugby with Karmichael Hunt joining that exclusive club earlier this year.

But while both Carne, Sailor and Hunt's first representative honours were in rugby league, Chambers created his own unique slice of history by becoming the first Super Rugby player to then go on to play Origin for Queensland.

The 26-year-old had a two-year dalliance with rugby union after first spending three years with the Melbourne Storm and as he prepares for his second match for the Maroons said it was the lure of an Origin jersey that convinced him to come back to rugby league in 2012.

"It was just a great learning curve," Chambers said of his rugby stint that saw him play 23 Super Rugby games for the Reds before a short stint with Munster in Ireland.

"I got outside of that Melbourne coaching philosophy and I learnt a bit about myself. Some say I was a bit comfortable in Melbourne and that got me outside of that and it made me miss rugby league in some senses.

"I wanted to come back and play State of Origin and play for my country. I always had a goal growing up to do that and while I was playing the other game, it sort of itched at me to come back and give it one last crack.

"I'm very thankful [Storm football manager] Frank Ponissi flew over to Ireland to sign me. It was something I'll always remember and I'm forever thankful to the Storm."

 

Chambers had played just 42 NRL games when he switched codes but said he always intended to make a return.

Having played rugby while attending famed Brisbane school St Joseph's College, Chambers benefited from the exposure to some of the nation's best rugby players but said there was a very different feeling in pulling on the Maroons jersey in Game Three last year.

"You play that New South Wales-Queensland rivalry in rugby union and it's obviously built up as well but the Reds jersey is a week-to-week jersey, this is a one-off occasion," he said.

"You get three cracks at this whereas when I was at the Reds... It has the same meaning as Queensland but it was more of a club thing.

"I left rugby league on good terms," he added. "I went there open-minded and to see how it panned out. I played rugby at school and always wanted another crack.

"They helped me in rugby, especially early on, Willy [Genia] and Quade [Cooper] helped me a lot with my footy and made it really enjoyable up here."

Having already been chosen ahead of him for the Anzac Test against the Kiwis earlier this month, Chambers is now being groomed as a successor to Justin Hodges who is likely to be playing in his final Origin Series.

Chambers admitted that he had to pinch himself during training sessions ahead of his Origin debut last year and that he is taking every opportunity to soak in Hodges' experience while he still can.

"I'm honoured to play in this group of boys and especially outside 'Hodgo'," said Chambers. "He just gives me so much confidence and talks to you and pumps you up.

"If this is his last camp I'll pick his brains as much as I possibly can. If I can do half as much as he's done for this state I'll be very happy."

Video courtesy of qrl.com.au