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Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 17:53 UK

Offiah willing to mentor Chambers

Martin Offiah & Dwain Chambers
Offiah wants to make sure Chambers is serious about a career in rugby league

Rugby League legend Martin Offiah says he will help mentor Dwain Chambers during his trial at Castleford Tigers.

Sprinter Chambers, who served a two-year drugs ban in athletics and has never played the sport before, has been formally registered as a Tigers player.

Should Castleford be hit by injuries, the 29-year-old could even make a shock debut against St Helens on Sunday.

"I wouldn't want him wasting my time but if he is serious then of course I will help him," said Offiah.

"I actually suggested last year that he try his hand at rugby league, but he rejected the idea at the time."

As a triallist, Chambers will not be entitled to any wages during the month he spends at the engage Super League club.

But the world indoor 60 metres silver medallist had his first training session with the Tigers on Tuesday and is expected to be included in coach Terry Matterson's initial 19-man squad for Sunday's home game against St Helens, 24 hours after celebrating his 30th birthday.

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And while former Wigan winger Offiah believes Chambers - who has had two stints in American football since testing positive - could help raise the profile of rugby league, he wants assurances that the disgraced athlete is prepared to give the sport his all.

"The first thing I would say to him is 'how serious are you Dwain?'," he said.

"He has the potential and he has experience of playing American football but he's got to really want to do it. If he is serious about playing rugby league then I'll be there for him.

"I scored over 400 tries in my career and there are plenty of things I can say which could help him, like positional play and defending the high ball.

"This is a guy who can run 100 metres in less than 10 seconds, so give him the ball and let him show what he can do.

"He could give Cas the X-factor that they are missing and instead of poo-pooing the idea then we should celebrate the fact that rugby league is getting a bit of national coverage at last.

"A lot of people will never even have heard of Castleford Tigers but they will do after this week."

However, Chambers' success or otherwise could come down to who will be playing next to him, warned Offiah.

He could give Cas the X-factor that they are missing

Martin Offiah

"I'd also like to know who is playing inside him at centre, because that's very important - Dwain must be given the ball.

"I played with Gene Miles at Wigan and he was brilliant. I scored 35 tries one season and Gene probably created at least half of them," he said.

Chambers representatives have insisted a legal challenge to his lifetime Olympic ban - imposed by the British Olympic Association - is likely and that he is positive over his chances of being able to compete in the Beijing Olympics later this year.

However, Offiah sees no problem in Chambers earning in a living in rugby league in the meantime, saying: "He has to earn a living somehow and Beijing might not happen for him anyway.

"If he does well with Castleford then he could earn himself a contract and be a star of Super League.

"I played with Terry Matterson (Castleford coach) at London Broncos and he won't play Dwain against St Helens on Sunday unless he is convinced he can do the business.

"The fact that he has named him in the squad tells you something straight away."



see also
Chambers secures Castleford trial
31 Mar 08 |  Castleford
Chambers 'needs league education'
30 Mar 08 |  Rugby League
Bradford 50-4 Castleford
30 Mar 08 |  Rugby League
RFL clears the way for Chambers
29 Mar 08 |  Castleford
Chambers 'must help drugs fight'
26 Mar 08 |  Athletics
Olympic chief to take on Chambers
13 Mar 08 |  Olympics
Chambers hints at quitting sport
08 Mar 08 |  Athletics
Chambers 'in right frame of mind'
06 Mar 08 |  Athletics
GB name Chambers in Worlds squad
12 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Black hits out at Chambers saga
12 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Chambers gets two-year ban
24 Feb 04 |  Athletics


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