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After witnessing his performance on Friday night it is almost unthinkable that Billy Slater will retire at the end of the year.

The superstar Storm fullback marked his return to the side after a one-week absence with three try assists in a near best on ground performance.

The 34-year-old has continued to get better with each and every game he has played this season so it is no surprise the coach is leading the chorus in imploring Slater to play on once his contract expires at the end of this season.

“I would love him to play on, I hope he does but at the end of the day he will make that decision for himself and for his family,” Bellamy said.

“You are a long time retired… I’d love to see him go on, I hope he does because I still think physically he’s got a whole heap in him.

“Having said that the mind has got to be right as well.

"The one thing about Billy is that he has always enjoyed his footy. That is the thing he will weigh up in his mind, is he going to enjoy another year? Hopefully he will say ‘yes’ to that question when he asks himself that.”

Top of the table clash! Storm v Roosters, Saturday 12 August, 5:30pm at AAMI Park!

However as good as Slater’s form is at the moment, there is much more that goes into performing at that level than just turning up on game day.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith knows that better than most having played the 351st game of his career on Saturday night.

That is why it will be what is required off-field as well as on that he believes will factor heavily in Slater’s decision on whether to pull on the purple jersey in 2017.

“It is easy to say that he looks great on the field, he’s playing great but to be in that position physically and mentally you’ve got to put in a lot of hard work,” Smith said.

“We’ve got to finish this season first, there is a fair few games to go and then he’s got to put himself through another pre-season to be ready for next year again.

“It is up to him whether he thinks he can physically and mentally get himself through it.

“A lot of people just see game day, they see a lot of players on game day and enjoy watching them play footy but there is always sacrifice that you make to play footy and most of that sacrifice falls on your family.

“It is obviously a big decision, he is one of the greatest players of all time… in his own time he will come to the right decision.”

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.