CHAMBERS’ EMOTIONAL HOMECOMING FOR BIG CLASH
WILL Chambers still remembers making the 1043km journey from Nhulunbuy to Darwin for junior football games.
“It used to be a big thing to come over here and play footy (for Gove) against Darwin,” Chambers said.
“Now to be playing in a World Cup here, it’s something special.”
The Kangaroos centre, whose family still live in the Nhulunbuy home he grew up in, says Friday’s Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Samoa will be a career highlight. Chambers never thought the opportunity to again play a match in the Territory would arise, let alone a World Cup knockout clash.
“I haven’t thought too much about it because I don’t want to be overawed by it all. I’ve played in some big games, but this will be right up there,” he said.
The seven-time Queensland State of Origin representative said it would be an emotional occasion at Darwin Stadium.
“To be playing in a World Cup up here is something I would never have dreamt of,” he said.
“I never would have thought a rugby league match of this importance would be played in Darwin, but to be up here and playing in it is something special.”
When the tournament’s schedule was released, Chambers’ attention was immediately drawn to the Top End fixture, and whether the Kangaroos would be featuring.
“I heard early in the year, but I knew it was a quarterfinal and it wasn’t assured that we were going to be in it,” Chambers said.
“When we beat England in that first fixture, that’s when Mal (Meninga) said we’re definitely playing in Darwin — I got excited and pumped about it all.
“It’s great for the community up here and we saw (on Monday) with the signing session how many people got behind it, there was a queue as long as you could see.
“It was the best turnout we have had for a signing session.”
Taking big games to areas outside NSW and Queensland is important for rugby league’s growth, according to Chambers.
“Everyone is excited and it’s the talk of the town at the moment, which is so good for the community and rugby league in general — it’s spreading its wings,” he said.
A crowd of 12,000 is expected at Marrara on Friday night for the biggest league fixture the Territory has ever played host to.
“To be playing in a World Cup up here is something I would never have dreamt of”
Australian centre Will Chambers addressing the media in Darwin yesterday as the build up to Friday’s World Cup clash against Samoa continues