He suffered Â a painful injury during the Four Nations tournament (a shattered collarbone), but for the first time this season, we will see Billy Slater playing in the Storm’s final trial game in Hobart.
Despite suffering the injury however, as a result of committing himself one too many times – Slater says that he has no intentions to shelve such plans, and he will continue to put his body on the line when he has to.
“I won’t be outlawing putting my body on the line because of the injury, that’s for sure,” Slater said.
“The boys do it all the time in the front line.
“I’ll still be doing everything I can to stop tries the same as I did before.”
With the severely displaced collarbone that Slater suffered at the Four Nations, the site was rather gruesome, with the bone protruding out of Slater’s shoulder – with the fullback now a man of ‘steel’, with 9 screws and a titanium plate in his shoulder, to keep it in place.
“Just one of those things that can happen in footy”.Â “You don’t go out there to get hurt, but every now and again you are dealt those cards,” he said.
“The screws and plate will stay in for the rest of the season and I’ll probably get them out at the end of the year.”
Despite the surgery however, Slater says that recovery wise, things ran very smoothly, and that he just wants to play.
“It feels a little bit different but certainly not any weaker. I’ve done some contact at training and it feels good. I suppose you don’t know for sure how it is going to be until you test it on the field, but things are generally so frantic you don’t get time to worry about it in a game.
“It will be good to at least have half a game to get the nerves out of the way and get some game time under the belt leading into the season.”
Approaching his 10th season at the Melbourne Storm, Slater wants to continually improve, over the course of the year, and make sure that he is always getting better.
“That never stops for me. Every training session, you are working on something you think you can get better at,” he said.
“I don’t set goals as such but there is always something I can get better at. Setting standards and trying to consistently play at that level is something I strive for.
“It’s something Craig (coach Bellamy) is always talking about.”
With the Storm still a very good side heading into the 2012 season, Slater is keeping quiet on the team itself.
“We’ve got a new squad with a lot of new players so it’s going to be about getting some combinations and continuity at the start,” he said.