Billy Slater cleared to play 300th game
BILLY Slater has overcome a shoulder injury to take his place in his 300th NRL game for the Storm.
The champion fullback will run out in front of his home crowd and become the 31st player in history to notch the illustrious milestone in Melbourne's clash with the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
Slater was absent for the Storm's impressive Round 1 win over the Bulldogs, with Cameron Munster starring as his replacement in the No.1 jersey.
Slater said on Tuesday he was very close to proving his fitness for the season opener in Perth and had always been confident he would be ready to go for Saturday despite his recent history of shoulder injuries.
"I was close to playing Round 1 so I was pretty sure I'd be right for this Saturday night at AAMI Park," Slater said.
In some ways it makes reaching the milestone all the more special, with Slater able to salute his loyal home faithful.
His return will trigger a switch in the halves with Munster likely to pair young No.7 Brodie Croft as the Storm's new-look spine belatedly runs out for its first game together.
While Munster filled Slater's shoes superbly against the Bulldogs, Craig Bellamy said he "couldn't imagine a better fullback than Billy Slater".
"Few players have been able to accomplish what Billy has in the game and that quite simply is down to how hard he works," Bellamy said.
"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."