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Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Sunday, 27 April 2008 17:11 UK

Tough league debut for Chambers

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Watch Chambers' rugby league debut

Sprinter Dwain Chambers endured a painful rugby league baptism when he turned out for the Castleford Tigers reserve side against York on Sunday.

The kick-off had to be delayed for 15 minutes because Chambers's presence attracted a crowd of more than 3,200.

He had four separate spells on the field before hurting his shoulder in attempting a try-saving tackle.

"I'm sure I'm going to be aching tomorrow, but I'm still smiling and I loved every moment of it," he said.

"I'll definitely be back and I appreciate people coming down to support me.

"This was an opportunity to redeem myself as an individual and be part of a sport that appreciates what I've got to offer.

"I believe this is just the beginning but we're at the early stages of negotiations to decide where we go from here.

"I was glad to get out on the field to put to rest any suspicions of it being a publicity stunt."

We can't just throw money for the sake of throwing it - we're going to have to find something to keep him here

Castleford football manager Michael Robinson on Chambers

Chambers, 30, joined the Tigers on trial in the hope of securing a contract for the rest of the season.

Castleford insist they have not paid a penny to Chambers so far and admit they need to see more of him action before making a commitment.

However, Castleford assistant coach Andy Hay was pleased with Chambers' contribution in his first outing.

"I think a lot of Super League wingers would have been happy with some of the runs Dwain had," said the former Great Britain international.

"He knocked a few defenders off and showed some pace and then made a real quick play-the-ball.

"He's got a long way to go but he's worked hard so far and, with the determination he's got, who knows what could happen?

"His game awareness is a little bit lacking and that comes with training. He's working very hard at it and everything we've thrown at him, he's done. His attitude will take him forward."

Tigers football manager Michael Robinson added: "I'd like to think we'll be able to keep him on for a couple more months but we've got to speak to his agent.

It was hard work and I was out of gas every 10 seconds - that's as far as I normally go

Chambers on his lack of stamina

"He's been an absolute delight in the camp. All the players have taken to him.

"From my personal point of view, I'd like to keep him here but there are bigger wheels in motion and we can't just throw money for the sake of throwing it.

"We're going to have to find something to keep him here."

Chambers received advice prior to his debut from former league star Martin Offiah, who was among the crowd at Castleford's Jungle stadium.

He began the match on the bench but was sent on after 10 minutes and made two short runs, as well as absorbing a tackle from York's Steve Grundy, in his initial appearance.

But he clearly lacked the stamina to play for any length of time.

His second stint just before the interval saw him bundle Dale Ferris into touch to prevent a potential touchdown by York and he was given two further opportunities in the second half, the last ending when Mark Applegarth muscled past him for York's third try.

"I did as well as I could and had some fun," he added.

"It was hard work and I was out of gas every 10 seconds - that's as far as I normally go - but I wanted to work on my weaknesses, which is the endurance side of things.


"I didn't know what to expect going in, but I knew it was going to be tough, and I knew I was going to be a target.

"In the space of a month, I've taken on so much knowledge and put it into play now. I had no idea what was going to happen but I knew I was going to get out there and do the best I could.

"Now I'm going to go home and relax, then decide where we go from here."

Despite his move into rugby league, Chambers has not abandoned his athletics career.

He won a silver medal in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships in March, having completed a two-year ban from the sport for testing positive for the steroid THG in 2005, and still harbours ambitions of running at the Beijing Olympics this summer.

see also
Chambers' league debut in pictures
27 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
Knights relishing Chambers clash
24 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
Tigers dismiss Chambers reports
16 Apr 08 |  Castleford
Chambers to wait for Tigers debut
09 Apr 08 |  Castleford
Chambers trains with Castleford
03 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
Offiah willing to mentor Chambers
01 Apr 08 |  Castleford
Chambers still keen on Olympics
31 Mar 08 |  Castleford

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