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Polarising Chambers not out to make friends

Will Chambers says he never has and never will care about his public perception, as the polarising Storm star gears up for another crunch clash with Origin nemesis Latrell Mitchell.

Chambers was in a bullish mood when fronting the media to start off his grand final week, having worn plenty of criticism for his sledging, suspensions and on-field performances in 2018.

The 30-year-old Queenslander returned to Melbourne's line-up only last week from a three-game suspension for an ugly crusher tackle on Jarryd Hayne, having already served a two-week ban for a grapple tackle against Sharks sparring partner Paul Gallen.

Along with enforced stints on the sidelines, Chambers also endured a tough Origin campaign at the hands of Mitchell, the emerging Roosters star who will push to claim Chambers' Australian Test jumper at season's end.

While often painted as one of the game's remaining villains thanks to his confrontational and niggling playing style, Chambers says he has never been concerned by how he is seen by the public or the slings and arrows he has worn at times in the press.

"I don't really mind, it's what people see and what you guys write and put about someone," Chambers said on Monday.

"It's the media and however I'm portrayed, I'm portrayed. I'd like to think I'm a loving, caring father and a great friend to the boys at the club.

Storm centre Will Chambers.
Storm centre Will Chambers. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"But at the end of the day, I can't stand here and say 'I'm this, I'm that'. It's what you guys write and what's said about me. That's footy, that's life. I live in front of these cameras and that's our life printed in media."

Asked if the negative perceptions had ever got to him or his family in the past, Chambers buckled down with his apathy.

"I take it with a laugh, just have a bit of a laugh about it," he said.

"It's pretty easy to be a keyboard warrior, people don't really say stuff to your face. It's easy to print it in a newspaper, but they won't come and say it to you.

"I just want them (family) not to read into it. I'm from a small town in the Northern Territory. You don't get much media up there, it's pretty cruisey, it's not the Sydney press."

Chambers did concede he had to be "a bit smarter in different situations" when quizzed on his latest ban for the high-profile tackle on Hayne.

The Storm centre was hit with a grade three dangerous contact charge and faced a five-week suspension had he challenged the ruling on a tackle Phil Gould labelled "the worst thing I've seen for a long time".

"It was disappointing to miss some footy this year but at the end of the day, that's footy," Chambers said.

"You cross the line and something ticks inside you. You play the game and you never deliberately go out to do anything wrong. Accidents happen like they did in that tackle.

"That's footy. You have to wear the punishment that is thrown at you."

Storm centre Will Chambers.
Storm centre Will Chambers. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

As rugby league would have it, Mitchell also returns from a crusher tackle ban to square off with Chambers once more, the 21-year-old prodigy forced out of the Roosters' grand final qualifying win over South Sydney for his contact on Josh Dugan.

Mitchell was forthcoming about Chambers' attempts to sledge and niggle him off his game throughout the Blues' Origin series win, declaring it prompted him to greater heights in each physical confrontation.

Chambers bristled when asked if he would try to bait Mitchell once more on Sunday.

"I don't want to talk about that," he said before going on to praise Mitchell's rise.

"He is a great young talent and he is playing some outstanding footy. It is another tough night and it will be a tough challenge.

"We have played each other about four times already this year and we are playing each other for the fifth [game in 2018].

"It is exciting, it is a good challenge I am looking forward to. I know he will be up for it. he is a big game player."

 

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