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Storm fullback Billy Slater is on track to return to the football field sooner rather than later according to Football Director Frank Ponissi.

Speaking with News Limited, Ponissi explained the number one was progressing strongly after recovering from shoulder surgery and was a chance to make an appearance at next month’s Auckland Nines tournament.

“Bill has been great; he started with the original training group back on November 2, so he is in great nick,” Ponissi told News Limited.

“He’s been running since day one and the contact has been getting more and more (contact) each week.

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“We’ll see how he will go in the next few weeks, but we’re very confident he’ll be definitely available for Round 1 and hopefully the Nines.

“That (the Nines) is his target and, at this stage, there is nothing to suggest that he can’t (play), but he’s not confirmed either way as of yet.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.