Thu, Aug 9, 10:37am by Staff Writer
On Wednesday afternoon Australian, Queensland and Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater announced his retirement at the end of the 2018 NRL season.
35-year-old Slater has played 313 games for the Melbourne Storm, including two Premierships in 2012 and 2017.
The Storm are currently second on the NRL ladder and third favourites to win the NRL Grand Final at $4.20 at Sportsbet.
Slater has scored 178 tries in his illustrious career, including 11 this season.
He has also had a decorated representative career, with 31 caps for Queensland and 30 for Australia.
Slater is an eight-time State of Origin winner, two-time World Cup winner and won the Four Nations with the Kangaroos in 2009 and 2011.
In his time at the Storm, Melbourne are three-time winners of the World Club Challenge, contested annually against the winner of the English Super League.
The fullback will be remembered for his lightning speed and dazzling footwork, as well as his eye for defence and reading the play.
He has been described by many as a once in a generation player and has won every award on offer in the game.
He was in the 2007 Melbourne Storm Team of the Decade at fullback and the 2008 Rugby League World Cup player of the tournament and golden boot recipient.
In recent years, Slater has been awarded the Dally M Fullback of the Year in 2017, as well as the Clive Churchill Medal for best on field in the 2017 NRL Grand Final, an accolade he received in 2009.
His career was at a crossroads in 2015, when he suffered a debilitating shoulder injury, playing only seven matches in 2015 and one in 2016.
He returned in 2017 to propel the Storm to the minor Premiership and another Grand Final triumph.
Slater broke the news in an emotional press conference at the clubs headquarters at AAMI Park. Current and former players, his family including wife Nicole Slater and Storm coach Craig Bellamy and chief executive officer Dave Donaghy were just some of many in attendance.
Slater thanked his parents, his family, coach Craig Bellamy and close friends Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith for providing a blueprint for success.
He revealed aspirations to one day coach in some capacity in the NRL, as well as to work in the media, a role he currently fulfils with Channel Nine.
23-year-old current halfback Jahrome Hughes is expected to slot into the fullback role, a position he filled during Slater’s time with Queensland this season.
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