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It is the return 736 days in the making.

Billy Slater will return to the Origin stage next Wednesday night, officially completing his return to the top.

Monday’s team announcement for Game II officially confirmed he will pull on the Queensland No.1 jersey once again.

“It has been a long journey for myself and I’ve put in a lot of hard work so to be back at this standard is certainly rewarding,” Slater said.

“I understand what Origin is about, you’ve just got to keep turning up and doing the simply things in your position really well and that is what I will be focusing on.

“It is good to be back playing. I realised last year when I was involved in the series but not in a playing capacity, it certainly drove me to continue to play because I knew my mind wasn’t ready to give up again.”

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Many had doubted whether the 33-year-old could return for his Club let alone to representative football.

Slater admits even he had questions racing through his head.

“I didn’t really know if I was ever going to play again to be honest,” he said.

“It has been successful this year to come back and obviously to get a Maroon jersey, I’ve always enjoyed playing for Queensland so I am looking forward to it.

“When people tell you that you will never play again or are commenting on your career when you have no control over it, it shows the stubborn side of myself.

“I just really enjoy playing rugby league. I enjoy playing for my club the Melbourne Storm and enjoy playing for my state.

“Hopefully I get the opportunity to play for my country this week but I am going to relish this week, enjoy it. I understand what it is all about, it is all about Wednesday night and I am going to enjoy it.”

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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.