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The No.1 purple jersey is ready and waiting for Billy Slater.

That was the message given by coach Craig Bellamy towards the returning Storm champion.

Slater is well on the way back to an NRL return in 2017 having reported for Day 1 of pre-season in terrific shape.

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Despite missing much of the last two seasons with a troublesome shoulder, the 33-year-old has been completing most of the field sessions with the squad.

His impending return to the field next season will likely bring about a re-shuffle to the Storm backline, allowing Cameron Munster to showcase his versatility.

“Anything could happen in footy so you don’t set too much in cement… but at this stage Billy will be playing fullback and we’ll find another role for Cameron,” Bellamy said.

“We are all a little bit weary but having said that, it is sort of in Billy’s hands and the medical staff’s hands, what they think is best and what Bill thinks is best. When we start testing him out a little bit more than what we have we will just go from there.

“Not only would he be very handy to have back in the team, we have seen how hard he has worked this pre-season and we’d love to see him come back and play. It’s been a long road, it was tough what happened to him, he only played one game last year.

“He had another operation so like I said we are just taking it step by step with the medical staff for what they think is the best way to go and the right way to go.”

So far all the signs have been positive for Slater during pre-season.

If he continues to tick all the boxes, the return of arguably the game’s greatest ever fullback is back on the cards.

“(Billy) has been great with his running, he’s been doing most of our skills now and the conditioning running he has done,” Slater said.

“He’s always been one of the better trainers that I’ve ever worked with and he is certainly that at the moment with what has happened the last couple of years.

“It’s been really good to have him back, his experience, especially with this group which is pretty young. He hasn’t done any contact work yet, we’re trying to leave that as long as possible but at some stage we are going to have to start doing that,

“Early in the New Year that will be the case and we will just see how it goes from there.”

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.