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Chee-Kam

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Kevinward777, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Kevinward777

    Kevinward777 Well-Known Member

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    Crunch time for Chee-Kam at Manly
    By Chris Kennedy, National Correspondent

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    Michael Chee-Kam knows he needs to impress the Manly coaches this season to play his way into a contract extension. Credit: Manly Sea Eagles. Copyright: NRL Photos.

    "I've got to make the most of this year and play my heart out because I really want to stay at this club."

    Michael Chee-Kam knows the clock is ticking. He knows it because of the number of first grade games – one – he's played in his two years on the northern beaches. He knows it because he is in the final year of a three-year deal. He knows it because the coaches told him so. This is the year.

    The 22-year-old Auckland-born back-rower arrived at the club as a highly-rated 20-year-old, fresh out of a NYC Grand Final with the Raiders and a member of the NYC team of the year.

    Halfway through what he is hoping will be a productive and injury-free pre-season, he tells NRL.com of his disappointment at having spent so much time on the sidelines through injury, his determination to make up for lost time, to repay the faith in the club that offered him that three-year deal, and to convince them to keep him around past this season.

    Chee-Kam's troubles started all the way back in that NYC Grand Final in 2012 against Wests Tigers – a game from which names like Anthony Milford, Edrick Lee, Marika Koroibete, David Nofoaluma and more have gone on to establish themselves in first grade.

    "My first year I came here [to Manly in 2013] I had a lot of people thinking that... well, I disappointed a lot of people," he says frankly.

    "I only played about five games in my first year. I came from the 20s Grand Final [in 2012] where I did my AC joint in the first half, I played on and missed the whole pre-season because of my shoulder. Then I came back and tore the meniscus in my knee which put me out until about Round 10 then I did my ankle, my syndesmosis, and I was out for the season after that.

    "Then last year I missed a bit of the pre-season because of my ankle then I came back for the [Auckland] Nines and dislocated my elbow in the Nines. After that I came back [in NSW Cup] about Round 12 and everything was sweet, I started getting some consistency and confidence back in my game and got called in as 18th man a few times and was lucky enough to get my debut in Round 26."

    That Round 26 match was a mixed night – Chee-Kam earned his long-awaited NRL debut but an under-strength Manly side missing the likes of Matt Ballin and Jamie Buhrer was easily disposed of 30-16 by the Cowboys in Townsville, surrendering the minor premiership in the process. Chee-Kam himself got limited minutes, making four hit-ups for 32 metres and making seven tackles.

    But it was more the consistent footy in NSW Cup in the lead-up to that debut that repaired his confidence.

    "The main thing was confidence, I wasn't playing how I used to play back in 20s, I was a bit wary of going into tackles and getting injured but after that I got some confidence back," he says.

    The coaching staff, and head coach Geoff Toovey in particular, have left Chee-Kam in no doubt as to what they expect from him if he wants to be on the Manly roster in 2016.

    "Tooves said in the off season review, this is my last year and if I want to stay here then I've really got to show them that I really want to stay – so I've got to make the most of this year and play my heart out because I really want to stay at this club," he adds, the desire audible in his voice.

    "Everything comes down to this last year so I've really got to do my best."

    His goals, he says, are just to stay injury free and play good footy; he's targeting a Round 1 call-up to first grade and to earn enough top-grade appearances to secure a contract extension.

    "I'm trying – my fitness has been good. When I debuted [in Round 26] I got a little bit of confidence in myself that I can prepare at that level. The main goal is just to stay injury free and hopefully get a crack in Round 1 and play as many first-grade games as I can and make a mark so I can get re-signed.

    "Re-signing and playing good footy are the main goals. I really like this club – if I get a chance to I'll re-sign but I've got to show them the faith they've showed in me – it's my last year so I've got to make it happen."

    With plenty of forwards having departed – prop Jason King has retired, lock Glenn Stewart is at the Rabbitohs, Anthony Watmough is at Parramatta – there are a couple of new names (Feleti Mateo and Willie Mason are the two big signings) to replace them, but it still seems like a changing of the guard in the Manly pack.

    "There are big shoes to fill but there are holes there that us young guys can hopefully get a run and show what we've got," he says.

    Formerly more of an edge back-rower, Chee-Kam has been training closer to the middle, which he says suits him fine.

    "They've been training me in the middle this pre-season. I like it more; I get more of the ball and get more involved instead of hanging out on the edge... I'm trying to get my ball-playing skills up there but it's more footwork and running lines.

    "It's been good learning which holes to run and the plays, little stuff, the more you're on the field the better you are for the season."

    And his thoughts on returning to the scene of the crime, as it were, the Auckland Nines where he last year suffered a major injury setback?

    "If I get picked I can't say no!" he laughs.

    "But it'd be good – that's a confidence thing too, I'm not really thinking about injuries any more, if Nines come I'll use it to work on my fitness and little things like that but the main goal is playing in the NRL."

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  2. tookey

    tookey Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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  3. Loobs

    Loobs I am not really Scott Penn Premium Member

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    "Tooves said in the off season review, this is my last year and if I want to stay here then I've really got to show them that I really want to stay..."

    Tooves is awesome. Put them to it. No bullsh.t.

    Good thing here - he sounds hungry and like he's gonna bust a get to make it happen. Can't ask for more than that...
     
  4. mjb136

    mjb136 MWSE fanatic Premium Member

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    Hope he makes it, been waiting awhile to see the potential but he keeps getting injured. Fingers crossed he works his butt off for us this year and is given some opportunities.
     
  5. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

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    Hope he can get over the injuries and have a genuine crack at it.

    Some players have problems around that age and come good for a few years, some do now.
     
  6. double hoops

    double hoops Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    He's been training as a middle forward. Hmm so he is likely to play prop or perhaps lock? Will be interesting to see how he performs in 2015, a bit more weight on them bones might do him the world of good. All the best Cheeky.
     
  7. Masked Eagle

    Masked Eagle Well-Known Member

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    Just goes to show you that talent isn't the only factor which goes into making a first grade career. You need hard work and more than an ounce of luck. The kid is due some so lets hope he makes the most of his opportunities which I'm sure he'll get if Tooves thinks he deserves it.
     
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  8. Shoe1

    Shoe1 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting he is training as a middle player.
     
  9. lsz

    lsz Well-Known Member Staff Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Wonder where all the comments are re his "attitude"
     
  10. BOZO

    BOZO Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I hope he proves me wrong but from what I have seen of him on the field
    At the end of the day he has been all talk and no action . We have seen nothing from him and the club has told him this is his final chance .
     
  11. lsz

    lsz Well-Known Member Staff Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    All i am saying is there is almost always more to a story than what you or i know

    In his case there have been a number of injuries which have limited his development. As for all talk i have not read anything from the player himself....most of it appears to be forum hype
     
  12. swoop

    swoop Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    This is a player who I hope stays injury free and makes it into the top 17.

    Not only that but the kid hasn't finished his current contract but wants to re-sign. I know that will be tested if he lives up to his potential and other clubs chase him for big dollars.
     
  13. The Who

    The Who Well-Known Member

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  14. The Who

    The Who Well-Known Member

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    In the photo above he appears to have bulked up a bit. Last year he looked more like a lithe winger than a tackle-breaking backrower. The story is a positive sign that he may be heading for a season in which he fulfills his potential.
     
  15. maxta

    maxta Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Playing in the middle to prepare him for the tough stuff, his ace card is on the edges running unders lines but to do this in NRL will need to learn to cop a few to run that courage route. Looks bigger than I recall previous seasons...has talent but can he back it up?? Hope so
     
  16. Disco

    Disco Well-Known Member

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    A victim of forum hype if i have ever seen one. The guy has had people into him because they, rightly or wrongly expecting him to be SBW straight out of the gate.

    Yes he came with pedigree with a good contract but he also suffered a multitude of injuries!

    Obviously due to that he does have only this year to prove himself and i hope he does!

    What i do love as he does mention about 48 times in the article that he loves the club and want to stay!

    Best of luck to him
     
  17. BOZO

    BOZO Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I would love the club as well if I was an under 20s player and they signed me overs for $150k a season LOL
     
  18. Disco

    Disco Well-Known Member

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    We paid what we had to to sign him, that is not his fault......you act like he went out to try and pick up injuries

    and 150k would be pretty standard for any player who made the under 20's team of the year, i bet Jackson Bird got paid a lot more to go to Cronulla
     
  19. BOZO

    BOZO Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Have you ever seen him play NSW cup ? If you have please tell us what impact did he have whilst he was on the field ?
    Many players get injuries and when the going gets tough the tough get going . Choc played most of the season with a torn bicep and that didn't stop him from representing NSW
    Our coaching staff have not been as kind as you as they have told him this is the year and his last chance to show us something either he shapes up or ships out . The Salary cap is tight and we don't want to waste one dollar on any one Dud Disco
     
  20. Disco

    Disco Well-Known Member

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    We are talking about a player in the development stage not Watmough who is a test and SOO veteran

    I have seen him in NSW cup and he hasn't stood out, but he was also injured for the best part of a season and a half, obviously this is going to hinder his development.

    Also i don't read the article as the coaching staff coming down on him or talking ultimatums......just them stating the obvious!

    Obviously this is his last year and obviously he needs to step up

    I'm just not into everyone dumping on a kid because they built up their own expectations, same thing happended when 6 months ago people were writing off Gutherson and there are some making the same murmurs about J Trbojevic

    He may not make it or he may burst through, but i will give him the benefit of the doubt until he gets a full injury free season
     

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