Melbourne Storm legends Cameron Smith and Billy Slater will be forever part of the Melbourne sporting landscape following the unveiling of their statues at AAMI Park today.
Victorian Government Treasurer Tim Pallas joined the two Storm legends at AAMI Park along with family and current and former players, coaches and staff of the club.
Smith and Slater have been cast in bronze by world renowned Australian artists Gillie and Marc in signature playmaking poses.
Both Storm legends spent hours with Gillie and Marc working on the finest detail for the statues before they were set out front of Storm headquarters at AAMI Park.
“AAMI Park has been my home away from home for almost 20 years. I have some incredible memories of this place which will stay with me forever,” Smith said.
“To have a statue outside the club is humbling, and extra special given Billy is right there alongside me.
Billy Slater said he was extremely honoured to have a statue in Melbourne.
To have contributed in the development of our game in this state is something I’m proud of. I love the fact (my statue) is alongside Cam, a great mate and someone who contributed so much to my career.Billy Slater
Storm CEO Justin Rodski thanked the Victorian Government, Melbourne and Olympic Parks and the NRL for recognising the two club champions.
“Cameron Smith and Billy Slater have created so much history for Storm over almost two decades and now they become part of history themselves in the most fitting and memorable of ways,” Rodski said.
“Melbourne Storm, and the game more broadly, is fortunate to have witnessed two of the greatest ever players in the same era. They have shaped the way the game is played today and given rugby league fans across the country so many great memories watching them play, even for those fans they played against.
“Cameron and Billy are generational footballers and role models, not only for all Storm and NRL players now and in the future, but for all sports men and women.
These statues will forever be a reminder of the impact they have had on the game, the Club and our state of Victoria.Justin Rodski Storm CEO
Gillie and Marc, who could not be in Melbourne for the unveiling, have over 25 years of delivering quality private and public artworks.
“We have always been fans of the Melbourne Storm growing up in Melbourne and now living in Sydney,” Gillie and Marc said.
“Cameron Smith and Billy Slater are the kind of men you admire on and off the field, so when we found out we had won the tender to honour them in two bronze sculptures, it was a dream come true.
“The prospect of meeting Cameron and Billy in the flesh filled us with excitement. In our minds, Cameron and Billy are without doubt the greatest football players in the history of the game and after spending time with them we understood the enormous stature of the men themselves and what legends they are.
“The bronze statues we made are larger than life to showcase their larger-than-life contribution to the NRL, the City of Melbourne, their inspiration to all and most importantly their humanity.
“Thank you to the Melbourne Storm, the Victorian Government and Cameron and Billy for giving us such an honour to memorialise two of the game’s greatest legends ever.”