Regarded by many as the greatest fullback to have ever played, 2018 will indeed be the last year for the Melbourne Storm’s Billy Slater.
With 313 games to his name to date, his decision will bring to an end a career that many players can only dream of.
Playing in six grand finals in his career, Slater won 4 (though two were stripped due to salary cap issues).
Slater could always find the touchline and has scored the most tries in an NRL finals history with 21.
On top of all that, Slater is a three time Dally M Fullback of the Year winner, a two-time Clive Churchill Medalist, a two-time Wally Lewis, a two-time Storm Player of the Year, the 2011 Dally M winner and the 2008 Golden Boot winner.
It hardly ends there, however. Slater made 31 appearances for Queensland, the equal ninth most for Queensland.
In that time, he won eight series with the Maroons. On the international stage with the Kangaroos, he won two World Cups.
That is in addition to his 30 appearances in the Kangaroos green and gold colours.
In the end, Slater knew the time was right having given everything to the game since 2002.
“I have given everything I possibly can to this game but have received so much more in return,” Slater said.
“When I first came down to Melbourne at the end of 2002, I could never have imagined I would be where I am today.”
“I would like to thank all my teammates, coaches, support staff and all the fans for the incredible support they have given me throughout my career.”
Slater also thanked his family and with his decision made, he now wants to focus on playing footy in his final year.
“I would especially like to acknowledge my family,” the fullback continued.
“My parents Ron and Judy, my sister Sheena, wife Nicole and the kids – you guys have ridden the wave with me every step of the way, supporting me when I needed you most.
“I have loved celebrating the incredible highs together as a family.
“Now that I have made my decision, my focus is to continually give everything possible to the Melbourne Storm.”
The club had nothing but praise for their veteran fullback and rightfully so given his longevity and loyalty to the club.
“There are no words that could do justice for what Billy Slater has done for Melbourne Storm, the NRL and the wider rugby league community over the last 16 years,” said Dave Donaghy, Storm CEO.
“His on-field highlights will continue to be shown for many years to come, however, it is the manner in which he has carried himself off the field that will remain one of his biggest contributions.”
Donaghy continued the well-wishes for Slater and hopes to see him remain a part of the Storm community post-playing.
“Billy has represented our game with nothing but class and distinction throughout his playing career,” Donaghy continued.
“Our Club is proud to have a player of the calibre and character of Billy Slater represent the purple jersey for his entire career.
“We wish Billy, Nicole and the kids all the best for the next chapter of their lives and look forward to forever having them as part of the Storm family.”