Billy Slater apparently has decided uno mas and has signed to play on for the Melbourne Storm for one final season.
Slater may come to regret that as the 2018 NRL season looms, but he was eager to provide a bit of drama at the Storm’s Player of the Year gala Tuesday evening.
If we were Slater, which obviously we are not, we would find it impossible to walk away from the game on 299 games. How anyone could possibly conceive of quitting one shy of 300 is simply so far beyond our comprehension that we lack the words to describe it.
In remarks published by The Herald Sun, Slater said, “It was just something over the last couple of days, had a good chance to think about it, feel now I can go on and contribute again next year. For me to be able to do it here tonight I’m happy with that too.”
It will be Slater’s 15th season with the Storm and it seems apparent that the comradery of the celebration involving the Clive Churchill Medalist and a few days to reflect on what calling time actually meant, combined to push Slater to play on.
Not only will the one-year deal enable Slater to notch his 300th game, he will also play his 30th Origin for Queensland. Again, how anyone could possibly leave the even round number unfilled is hard to ponder.
Slater had a bang-up season in 2017 and the premiership obviously contributed to some going-out-on-top thinking to the equation, but after missing the first two rounds in 2017, he returned to lead the Storm in try assists and offloads. He ranked third overall in tries, this on a side that is loaded with talent.
He missed a year and a half with shoulder surgeries, so his return was always up in the air.
Slater will have to soldier on without Cooper Cronk, who is moving to Sydney.