Will Chambers is facing a fight to play again this NRL finals series after Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy benched the Queensland and Australian champion for their semi-final thumping of Parramatta.
Bellamy made the surprise decision to relegate Chambers and start Curtis Scott in their 32-0 defeat of the Eels at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Scott had made just one first-grade appearance since breaking his foot in the Storm's 64-10 Magic Round massacre of the Eels in May.
But after impressing for the Sunshine Coast in the Queensland Cup, he has supplanted Chambers in the Storm's pecking order.
Bellamy admitted he had grappled with the decision all week before electing to start Chambers on the sideline after consulting with his senior playing group.
"We just thought it would improve our performance, it was another big call," Bellamy said.
"I don't want to get too mushy here but I've coached Will for 12 years and it's not easy to drop a player who has given this club that much good service - he has done some wonderful things for our club.
"But I just thought it was the best thing for our team. Everyone will have an opinion on whether it was or wasn't.
"I had a few sleepless nights making that decision because of our relationship. But to his credit he made it easier on me that he could have so I appreciate that."
Chambers got on the field for the final 13 minutes, replacing Suliasi Vunivalu on the right wing, but by that time the game was well and truly over at 26-0.
Bellamy was adamant he didn't know how he would arrange his team for next Saturday's preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters.
However given the Storm's performance, Scott looks set to mark up on Latrell Mitchell.
Chambers and Mitchell have a long history of personal battles, with the Roosters star getting the better of him in their four meetings - in State of Origin and the grand final - last year.
"You just have to be honest, the hardest part for me is that we've had a long relationship and it was hard for him without a doubt," Bellamy said.
"We thought that was the right way to go, we will review that and see if we still think that was the right way to go.
"He's played on the edge with Indigenous teams, we all know what a good centre he is and he came on tonight for Suli on the wing so he covers a couple of positions for us as well."
Australian Associated Press