It has been a long time since Craig Bellamy has had to discuss how Billy Slater may play in an upcoming game.
Thankfully that moment finally arrived on Wednesday when the Storm coach fronted the media ahead of the Captain’s Run.
Melburnians will be converging on AAMI Park on Thursday night to witness Slater’s return to the side after more than a year on the sidelines.
The excitement is understandably at fever pitch with arguably the greatest fullback of all time ready to pull on Storm’s No.1 jersey once again.
“Everyone is really excited about Billy playing again,” Bellamy said.
“It has given everyone a little bit of a boost. We know what he has done for the club and what he has done for our game.
“Having said that we know he hasn’t played for a long period of time. It will take a little bit of time to find his feet but there is a genuine buzz around the Club at the moment.”
The entire rugby league world is talking about how the 33-year-old will perform following his long absence.
Two major shoulder surgeries in as many years is a significant mountain to climb for any player but this is Billy Slater we are talking about.
An unmatched professional, hell bent on winning for his football club, there is every reason to be confident he will be ready to go when he runs out of that tunnel and back onto AAMI Park on Thursday night.
“He has been running really well all through pre-season but it is just getting that shoulder used to contact again,” Bellamy said.
“Probably the last six weeks has been a build up and the last two weeks has been full contact on big guys and he’s gone really well.”
“We expect his shoulder to get through a game. Whatever (the Broncos) want to try at the end of the day we, the medical staff and Billy, all think he will handle whatever comes.”