Wife’s faith prepared Chee Kam for magic moment
Joel GouldNRL.com Reporter
Fri 12 Apr 2019, 03:01 PM
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Wests Tigers utility Michael Chee Kam credits his wife for her unfailing belief through tough times for preparing him for the match-winning moment that exceeded his wildest childhood dreams.
With one minute left on the clock the 27-year-old left several Brisbane defenders in his wake to run 35 metres to score, delivering a 22-16 victory.
Chee Kam is a late bloomer who spent time in the Melbourne and Canberra systems before joining Manly. He only played five games at the Sea Eagles across 2014 and 2015 and had to wait until round nine of the following year to make his Tigers debut.
But he said he never lost faith in his ability to be an NRL regular.
“I got married last year in October [to Alex] and she has been with me since my Manly days,” Chee Kam said.
"She has always been there for me through tough times and when I was playing reserve grade. She was always telling me to believe in myself and that I could play at the highest level.
“I still had that belief and kept plugging away. My family and the close friends that I have all kept me positive throughout those years.”
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As for his try at Suncorp Stadium, it is a moment he was still savouring long after the final siren.
“As a kid you dream of scoring a try in the NRL, but to win a game by scoring a try … it is pretty surreal. I am still buzzing now,” he said.
“That has never happened to me before. I didn’t know what to do when I had the ball in my hands. I looked up and seen a little gap, and just ran. It all happened pretty quick.”
Mostly used as a back-rower, Chee Kam showcased his versatility when centre Robert Jennings was ruled out with concussion after 21 minutes, playing a vital hand in the away team’s comeback by catching a Luke Brooks bomb and unveiling a slick offload for Luke Garner to score.
"The coach sees me as a utility and I did most of the pre-season at centre too just to get me familiar with in case something like this happened so I was fairly confident when I went out there,” Chee Kam said.
"Madge [coach Michael Maguire] has come in and really changed the culture of the club and everyone is buying into it.
“I can feel it. We have a strong bond here and I really want to be a part of that shift.”
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Maguire said Chee Kam was a major part of that shift himself and had the ability to break games open like he did at the death against Brisbane.
“He has definitely shown he has the capability to do that,” Maguire said.
“Chee has been able to fill in a number of different spots and has a bit of X factor about him, so with that [final] play he adds a real lot in those moments. I think his feet were moving faster than the mind, but it worked.”