Billy Slater will record another highlight to add to his already illustrious career as he steps out for his 300th NRL game on Saturday night.
The champion fullback will reach the milestone as Melbourne Storm host their first home game of the season this weekend against Wests Tigers at AAMI Park.
Slater is arguably the greatest fullback to ever play the game and comfortably sits amongst the best players of the modern era.
Slater made the move south as a rather unheralded prospect but it soon became apparent that a special Storm talent had arrived. On debut in Round 1, 2003, Slater blitzed the Cronulla Sharks to score a long range try and announce himself to the NRL world.
From there, his star only continued to rise. His ‘kick and chase’ try in Game II of the 2004 State of Origin series will live on in Origin folklore, as will the telepathic play he combined with Cooper Cronk to pull off in the 2012 NRL Grand Final against the Bulldogs.
Fewer players would possess a career highlight reel as long and as entertaining as Billy Slater’s.
The 34-year-old now stands as the greatest try scorer in NRL Finals history. He has crossed the try line a total of 183 times over his 15 seasons – a number that stands second all-time to only Ken Irvine (212).
Slater also holds a special place in the Storm history books, having played the third most games in the Club’s history behind Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk. He will also become just the 31st player in NRL history to join the illustrious 300-Club.
A two-time Storm Player of the Year, three-time Dally M Fullback of the Year, 2008 Golden Boot winner and 2011 Dally M Player of the Year, the individual accolades have flowed right throughout Slater’s career – a testament to his incredible consistency.
The Storm No.1 has also stood up on the biggest stage for his Club, having won two Clive Churchill medals for his best afield performances in the 2009 and 2017 Grand Finals.
Slater’s return to the field last year was one of the highlights of the 2017 NRL season, culminating in his first half try of last year’s Grand Final victory in what was the exclamation point on his return to the big stage.
A fan favourite on the field, Slater has grown into one of the game’s most admired and respected ambassadors of it. He is a proud ambassador of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a role that enables him make a difference in the lives of seriously ill children and their families.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said it had been a privalage to coach Slater for all these years.
“Few players have been able to accomplish what Billy has in the game and that quite simply is down to how hard he works.
“His attitude towards and ability to embrace hard work sums him up as a player and as a person. From the first week he came to Melbourne to trial for a contract he has always been hungry to improve himself and help this team to be as successful as it can possibly be.
“It has been a privilege to coach him for all these years. Both our Club and the competition have been lucky to see perform with such class and commitment week in and week out.
Billy Slater’s career
Born: 18 June, 1983, Nambour, Queensland
Junior Club: Innisfail
First Grade debut: Melbourne Storm v Cronulla, Shark Park, 16 March, 2003 (Round 1)
- Queensland: State of Origins 29 (2004-present)
- Australia: Tests 30 (2008-present); World Cups 2008, 2013, 2017; Four Nations 2009-2011
- Grand Finals: 7 – Melbourne 2006 (L), 2007 (W), 2008 (L), 2009 (W), 2012 (W), 2016 (L), 2017 (W)
- World Club Challenges: 4 – Melbourne 2008 (L), 2010 (W), 2013 (W), 2018 (W)
- 3x Dally M Fullback of the Year (2008, 2011, 2017)
- 2x Clive Churchill Medallist (2009, 2017)
- 2x Storm Player of the Year (2008, 2009)
- 2x RLIF Fullback of the Year (2008, 2011)
- 2x RLIF Player of the Year
- Dally M Player of the Year (2011)
- Dally M Representative Player of the Year (2010)
- Wally Lewis Medallist (2010)
- Golden Boot 2008
- Storm record for most tries scored – 183 (Second most in NRL history)
- Most tries in NRL finals history – 21
- Equal-most tries in a game by a Storm player – 4 v Manly at Docklands, 2009 Qualifying Final
- Third most points scored in Storm history – 732
- Third most games played in Storm history – 299
Top 10 Storm games played:
359 – Cameron Smith
315 – Cooper Cronk
299 – Billy Slater
262 – Matt Geyer
246 – Ryan Hoffman
182 – Jesse Bromwich
179 – Kevin Proctor
177 – Scott Hill
175 – Ryan Hinchcliffe
173 – Will Chambers