Having been a nearly man for most of his career, Will Chambers will become a State of Origin player next week when he debuts for Queensland.
Will Chambers is almost certainly sick of the word nearly.
The 26-year-old nearly played Test rugby during a two-year stint with the Queensland Reds.
He nearly ran onto the field in a Super Rugby final, only to be an unused substitute in the Reds’ championship win.
For the past two years, he’s nearly been a member of Queensland’s all-conquering State of Origin team.
Heck, even a rare blood disorder which prevented his blood clotting nearly ended his rugby league career two years ago.
Next Wednesday, nearly will turn into finally when Chambers runs out for the Maroons in what will be his Origin debut.
It’s one of the more remarkable paths to Origin, coming via a phenomenal junior rugby league career, his two years in union and then a rugby league redemption with Melbourne which has included a 2012 NRL premiership.
Queensland back Justin Hodges, himself no stranger when it comes to overcoming adversity, couldn’t be happier that Chambers will get the chance to strut his stuff in a maroon jersey as the replacement for injured veteran Brent Tate.
“It’s great to see Willie get his chance,” Hodges told AAP.
“He has earned the right to be here.
“The first two camps he did look like playing obviously with me injured for the first one and then Greggy (Inglis) in the second camp. He was very close and I’m just stoked that he obviously gets his chance next Wednesday.”
Tate’s knee injury means Queensland will have to make do without his wholehearted style and tremendous work rate as they try to avoid a series whitewash to NSW.
While Chambers is a different player, Hodges is confident the Storm flyer has the required skills to be a hit at Origin level.
“The best thing about him is you can’t coach what he does,” he said.
“He’s very skilful as a player and just brings that X-factor.
“Some people don’t think he’s as strong and fast as he is but, when he’s running, he’s very skilful with the ball and that’s what he brings – that unpredictability. You don’t know what he’s going to do.”