Chamberlain determined to progress

Chamberlain determined to progress widnesvikings.co.uk
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20th March 2018

Ed Chamberlain has enjoyed a sustained run in the Vikings team this season, featuring in every fixture since the victory over Leeds Rhinos. The Vikings Media Team caught up with the 22-year-old Vikings academy graduate to discuss this week’s action against Salford, his experience at the Rugby League World Cup, and his goals for the year ahead…

Ed, when you renewed your contract last season, you were very clear that your aim was to establish yourself in the first team. You must be pleased to have built this run in the team?

It’s been good to get a decent run out and have good performances too, not just personally but as a team. Last year we were a bit off the beat but we’ve made some good improvements this season. We have given teams the run for their money, even if we haven’t always got the results that we wanted. We’ve pushed teams hard, forcing them to make errors and finding opportunities. Hopefully we can continue that and pick up more points.

How did your experience at the Rugby League World Cup help you, going into this season?

It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I hadn’t played much last year and my confidence was low, so I just really wanted to go. To then have the chance to play all three games in my preferred position of centre, and having a good role in the team, really helped my confidence. It really helped me to mature as a player.

Do you think it was one of those experiences that might be a highlight of your career?

Definitely, I take a lot of pride in it. Having not played many games and then at 21 being asked to play in a World Cup, in my preferred position, was incredible.

There were other people who could have got the place in the team, but I got the nod. I’m looking to show why I should be in that position and hopefully to keep it, going forward.

You played against Papua New Guinea, a team that lots of Vikings supporters are interested in following the signings of Wellington and Stanton. What were they like?

They were a very physical team and it was an intense game. They ran hard for the full 80 minutes, and it was a big challenge with the heat and the crowd being behind them. We didn’t get the result, but it was very close game. It was something that I’ll look back on when I’ve finished my career as being an unforgettable and proud moment.

Focussing back on the Vikings, what do we need to do to build our form?

I think that we need to keep on challenging teams. This year, we know that if we face setbacks, we have to stay positive to overcome them. Everyone is buying in and helping each other out. At the start of the season we said that no one wants to be where we were last year. Hopefully people can see that we’re not the team that we were last year, with lots of hard work in training and improvements in the side. 

As an outside back, what’s it been like working with Francis Cummins?

He’s helped out a lot with the backs. He’s willing to sit down and explain his ideas. He works hard at getting the team to rep out, until plays are fine-tuned and perfect.

You can’t argue with anything that he says, because he’s been there and done it, and had some incredible success. He’s also willing to listen and discuss things too. To have someone who has achieved what he has work with lots of the younger players, like myself, is really positive.

What was it like playing in those torrid conditions against Wakefield?

Difficult! I could hardly see a thing and it’s probably the coldest that I’ve ever been in my life. It was weird having the wind and snow gushing about, trying to concentrate on both where the ball was and the position of the opposition winger.

In the 27 minutes that we did play, we actually held some of our best attacking shape of the season. We’ve got to carry that forward against Salford and get the win.

What challenges will Salford pose?

Salford pose challenges across the field. They’ve got a big forward pack, have speed on the edges and their halves get the team around well. We know that this game will be a challenge, and everyone in the team has a responsibility to do their bit. We’ll be working hard to get the right result and it should be a good game.

What’s your aim for the rest of this season?

I want to stay in the team and to improve every game. I don’t want to give anyone a reason to swap me out, whether that be if people return from injuries or if I have a poor performance. I want to be in the team every week.

Does that competition for places drive you and the team on?

Yeah, definitely. There’s people challenging for every position. If you’re not willing to train for that extra ten minutes after a session, but a younger kid is, then they are more likely to get a nod. Irrespective of experience or playing ability, if you’re not showing up properly at training or not performing as well as you can be, it’s very likely that you can be replaced and it can take a long time to get back in.

The young kids now – Olly, Keanan, Jordan, Danny, Brad – all perform really well. Once they are in, they are very hard to move.

The club has partnered with North Wales Crusaders. You’ve had spells on loan in the Championship and League One, as you’ve come through the ranks. For those young players following in your footsteps of moving from Academy into first team, do you think that this partnership will assist their development?

It will be good for them, yes. It’s far better to play against men, rather than teenagers and young adults.

Going on loan really helped me to progress. You learn from people who’ve been there and done it, who have experience and want to compete. It’s a really good experience and can support young players to develop their game.

Finally, to have had of supporters endure the weather at Wakefield represented incredible backing. How did the players feel about it?

We’re massively grateful for it. Honestly, it was amazing to know that there were people braving it in the stands.

We like to have the support and appreciate everything that the fans do. Hopefully they’re there on Thursday night, singing loud and proud, and we can give them a great night’s entertainment.

 

Be there to back the boys!

Widnes Vikings take on Salford Red Devils at the Halton Stadium on Thursday 22nd March. Don’t miss what is set to be another fantastic home Super League clash.

Tickets are on sale now from the Vikings Superstore, Tesco Extra, the ticket line 0151 495 2250 (option 2), and the online ticketing platform. Book your tickets before matchday for the biggest savings (click here for ticket information).

Hospitality is also available for the fixture in the C&C Karalus Suite. With exclusive presentations from first team stars, a delicious two course meal and the best seats in the house, you’ll enjoy an unforgettable experience.

At just £60, or £30 for 2018 Viking Stronghold Members looking to upgrade, you can enjoy the big game at a bargain price. To book, email events@widnesvikings.co.uk or call 0151 495 2250. 

Chamberlain determined to progress widnesvikings.co.uk