MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Billy Slater of the Melbourne Storm and Storm coach Craig Bellamy talk during a Melbourne Storm NRL media session at Gosch's Paddock on May 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Billy Slater has reported that Storm coach Craig Bellamy tried to extend his NRL career, but rejected due to fears that he could ruin his own legacy.

Slater is set to play his final home game in Friday night’s preliminary final against Cronulla, as he confessed about his decision to turn down Bellamy’s offer.

The legendary full back hopes to play in a dream premiership farwell match on Sunday next week at ANZ stadium.

Before his do or die clash against Cronulla, Slater opened up about his meeting with Bellamy and why he chose to reject it.

“Craig was the one bloke who hoped I would play on,” Slater told the Courier Mail.

“To be honest, I feel so good at the moment that I believe, physically, I could play on in 2019.

“As I weighed up my future, I consulted a few people. Craig was one of them.

“He told me he wanted me to go around next year. Craig said you should play until you can’t play no more.

“Craig played first grade himself and I guess his philosophy is that you are a long-time retired in this game.

“For a few months, I kept waiting for that little person to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I’m doing the wrong, that I shouldn’t be retiring.

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“I explained to Craig what I was thinking and feeling. He probably didn’t look at it from my perspective, but in the end, he respected how I felt.

“Right now, I’m confident I’ve made the right decision.”

Bellamy believes that Slater is in career best and can’t see him slowing down next season.

Statistics supports Bellamy’s statement with the future hall of famer having averaged 105 running metres per game, 64 tackle busts, 1 line breaks and 14 try assists this season.

The Storm have made room under the salary cap for Slater, but the two time Clive Churchill Medalist said his health was more important.

“I had this fear about getting to the point where I was worried about putting my body on the line and wasn’t 100 per cent committed to being the best player I can be for the Storm,” he said.

“I’m 36 next year. I could have squeezed the lemon dry but I have a very active life away from football. I have two young children and it’s important I can be an active father to them.

“I didn’t want to get halfway through next year and have to finish the rest of the season knowing my body might be letting me down or I was losing that commitment.

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“This year was actually a bonus for me. I could have easily retired last year. I came into this season thinking it would probably be my last year and I took some time to think about my options.

“Given what I have been through the last few years with injuries, to finish the way I am going to finish, with my body healthy and still loving the game and having that will to compete, that’s the best scenario.”

The Melbourne Storm take on the Cronulla Sharks on Friday night at 7:40pm at AAMI Park.

2 COMMENTS

  1. If available Slater should be the Kangaroos FB next month against NZ and Tonga. Would be a good way to finish his career.

  2. After tonight’s shoulder charge by Billy, unfortunately he will be suspended almost certainly. Unless of coarse the NRL are about to perform, another Sam Burgess on Billy Slater.

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