Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has admitted dropping Will Chambers was one of the toughest decisions of his career, but insists he’s undecided on who will mark up against Latrell Mitchell next week.
Chambers was dropped to the bench for the clash against the Eels on Saturday night, paying the price for a number of poor defensive reads against Canberra last week.
It wasn’t the only big call the Storm made during the lead-up, with the club fearing that Jahrome Hughes had suffered an ACL injury at training – only to be cleared to play a few days later.
Chambers was left on the bench in favour of Curtis Scott, despite the young centre playing just one game since round nine.
“That was a big call," said Bellamy.
I don’t want to get too mushy here but I’ve coached Will for 12 years. It’s not easy to drop a player that has given this club that much service and that much good service. But I thought it was the best thing for our team.
“Everyone will have an opinion on whether it was or it wasn’t but I had a few sleepless nights making that decision because of our relationship. You just have to be honest. Whether it’s right or wrong, the hardest part for me was because we’ve had such a long relationship.”
Match: Storm v Eels
Finals Week 2 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Chambers has been left red-faced in a number of battles against Mitchell the past few years, with Bellamy left to make another huge decision ahead of next Saturday’s preliminary final against the Roosters.
“We’ll see what we think,” Bellamy said.
“I’ll pick the brains of a couple of senior players but at the end of the day it’s my decision. We’ll do what we think is best for the team. Obviously Latrell is one hell of a player. So it’ll be a tough job for whoever gets it.”
Cameron Smith has backed Scott to get the job done, if Bellamy decides to stick with him for the match next Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
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“I have faith in him because when he hasn’t been playing first grade he’s trained consistently well,” Smith said.
“Whenever he’s gone back to Queensland to play for our feeder side he’s performed well. So that’s been the message to the entire squad all year – you just never now when you’ll get your opportunity.
“It doesn’t matter who marks Latrell he’s a world-class player. But Curtis has played against the best centres in the game and held his own. He’s a confident guy, so he’ll go up to Sydney next week confident he can do a job for us.”