Reds sign Storm star Chambers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds sign Storm star Chambers

17/02/2009 02:09:14 PM Comments (0)

Rising Melbourne Storm centre Will Chambers has become the first NRL player to be lured to rugby in 2009 after signing a Super 14 deal with the Queensland Reds.

The Reds pulled off a major coup on Monday by signing Chambers to a two-year deal starting at the end of the 2009 NRL season.

The 20-year-old has been seen by the Storm as the man to offset the loss of Israel Folau to the Brisbane Broncos but he will now also return north.

Chambers' signing is understood to have effectively shut the door on the Reds' passing interest in Broncos star Karmichael Hunt, who they felt would have been best suited to outside centre where he is set to be groomed.

The athletic 100kg, 189cm Northern Territory-product played rugby as a schoolboy at Brisbane's Nudgee College and represented Queensland alongside Reds playmaker Quade Cooper in 2006.

Chambers highlighted his immense potential with a starring performance for the Queensland Under-19s league side in 2007 and also made the Junior Kangaroos squad.

The Storm desperately wanted to keep the centre but couldn't keep him due to the constraints of a salary cap made incredibly tight by boasting the likes of Cam Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Cooper Cronk.

Chambers is into his third season with Melbourne and big things are expected after recovering strongly from a knee reconstruction which restricted him to 10 top-grade appearances in 2008.

"We would have loved to have kept Will but the reality is we just couldn't afford what the Reds were offering him," a Storm spokesman said.

Reds high-performance manager Ben Whitaker said Queensland didn't ask for the Australian Rugby Union's assistance but believed Chambers could quickly prove himself to be a Test player in the making.

"He's young, he's definitely got the right attributes to play outside backs in rugby and I think combining with his genuine desire to play the game and for the Reds it was an easy call to make," Whitaker said.

"We know Will's in a good place at the moment with the Storm and we don't want to make this a crusade against rugby league.

"He's always harboured a desire to play rugby again it was just a matter of when."

The Reds will look to immediately trial Chambers at No.13, where Morgan Turinui is battling to keep the spot ahead of Brando Va'alu and Charlie Fetoai, when he makes the switch.

"No doubt we'd look to strengthen that position," Whitaker said.

"We've got Morgan and we're looking to trial Brando and Charlie is filling a hole for us at the moment.

"You could ease these guys in on the wing but what (coach Phil Mooney) did last year with Timana Tahu playing at inside centre in the Australia A program showed sometimes it's best to get them in the thick of it early."

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