Headaches: Breakaway Tom Chamberlain. Photo: Getty Images
RECENTLY retired Melbourne Rebels forward Michael Lipman will tell former teammate Tom Chamberlain not to give up on his career, despite the fellow breakaway being forced into his second layoff this year with concussion.
Lipman was forced to quit playing rugby union last month after being unable to overcome worsening side effects of concussion. Yesterday he said he would seek out Chamberlain, who has returned from the team's South Africa tour, and tell him to allow himself a long rest from the game - something that Lipman did not adhere to during his career - before deciding what his future held.
''He needs to have at least a couple of months off and weigh up his options. Unfortunately [head knocks] are quite prevalent in our position. He's just got to get through this bad phase, but he's got a long career ahead of him and I wouldn't be giving him any kind of advice to stop him. But at the same time he needs to listen to his body and rest,'' Lipman said.
''He hasn't had a huge history [of concussion]. The last couple he has had have been quite alarming but time will heal that and there's no reason for him to retire at this stage.''
Chamberlain was sidelined for six weeks after receiving a bad head knock against the Highlanders in round six. The 25-year-old breakaway, who can play both sides of the scrum, returned in round 14 against the Hurricanes and travelled with the team to South Africa for its final games of the season against the Lions and Stormers.
However, the side effects returned after arrival in Johannesburg and he did not play in the team that was beaten 37-32 by the Lions.
''Given the recurrence of these symptoms it was decided that he return to Australia and take no further part in the tour,'' Rebels coach Damien Hill said in a statement last night.
Chamberlain's contract was not extended by the Rebels and the New Zealander, who debuted for the Blues in 2009, has now played his last game for the club.
A spokesman for the Rebels said Chamberlain could not be contacted yesterday. Chamberlain spoke to The Age after his return in round 14 in May and said he had suffered a headache for about five weeks following his head knock against the Highlanders.
''It's obviously not ideal if you get a concussion, but it's a part of the sport and you move on from it as quick as possible,'' Chamberlain said.
Meanwhile, with Queensland needing a big game from Quade Cooper against New South Wales to keep it in the hunt for a wildcard for the Super Rugby finals, Reds coach Ewen McKenzie yesterday declared his five-eighth ''the best playmaker I've been involved with as a coach''.
''He can weave a game plan into how he plays and he loves the challenge of going out there and making it happen,''he said.