|Slater playing for Melbourne in 2008|
|Nickname||Billy the Kid|
18 June 1983 |
Nambour, Queensland, Australia
|Height||178 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||89 kg (196 lb)|
Billy Slater (born 18 June 1983 in Nambour, Queensland) is an Australian professional rugby league player for the Melbourne Storm of the National Rugby League (NRL). An Australian international and Queensland State of Origin representative fullback, he has played his whole NRL career to date at Melbourne, with whom he set the club record for most ever tries and NRL record for most ever tries by a fullback. Slater also won three grand finals, the Clive Churchill Medal and the Dally M Medal with the Storm. With the Kangaroos he was the 2008 World Cup's top try-scorer and player of the tournament and won the 2008 Golden Boot Award as the World player of the year. Slater was also the winner of the television game show Australia's Greatest Athlete in 2009 and 2010.
Slater began playing rugby league for the Brothers club in Innisfail, Queensland at only fourteen years old. A North Queensland Cowboys fan growing up, he continued to make the Innisfail representative side every season until his final year with the club. At sixteen years of age, Slater left Year 12 at Innisfail State High School and decided to follow his personal passion for thoroughbred racing, working initially in Sydney as a roustabout for the racehorse trainer, Gai Waterhouse.
Professional playing career
Slater commenced playing for the Melbourne Storm in 2003. In Round 1 of the 2003 NRL season, Slater made his first grade NRL debut for the Melbourne Storm against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Remondis Stadium. Slater started on the wing and scored a try in Melbourne’s 36-32 win after overcoming a 22-0 deficit early in the first half. In Slater’s next match in Round 2 against the Penrith Panthers, Slater played his first match for the Storm at fullback; scoring 2 tries in the Storms’ 42-16 win at Olympic Park. From Rounds 4-8, Slater played in the centre position before moving back to fullback in Round 10 against the Brisbane Broncos in the Storms’ 36-16 loss at Suncorp Stadium. Slater played the rest of the year at fullback. After a stellar début season saw him crowned Dally M Rookie of the Year (although the awards that year were cancelled in protest). Slater was the Storms’ highest try scorer in the 2003 season with 19 tries in all of the Storms’ 26 matches.
Slater made his debut on the wing for Queensland in game one of the 2004 State of Origin series. Slater had a quiet but solid first game and retained his spot on the team for the second game of the series at Suncorp Stadium.In game two, just days shy of his 21st birthday he was named man of the match after scoring two tries. His second try considered one of the great individual origin tries. Trailing 12–10, Slater latched onto a grubber kick from Darren Lockyer, chip-kicked the ball over Blues fullback Anthony Minichiello, regathering the ball and scoring. Slater scored a try in the decider but could not stop a Brad Fittler-inspired New South Wales side from clinching the series. Slater's club form helped his team finish 6th on the ladder, defeating the Brisbane Broncos in the first game of the finals before succumbing to eventual premiers, the Bulldogs. Following his stellar season, Slater was named in the Kangaroo squad to tour Europe but injury prevented him from joining in the tour.
Slater once again impressed in his 3rd NRL season. Once again Slater was picked for the Queensland State of Origin team, this time at his preferred position of fullback. Slater returned for the second game in Sydney which saw the return of Andrew Johns, who spearheaded a New South Wales' victory. Despite losing the match, Slater took advantage. of a knock-on from the Blue's Anthony Minichiello to score a length of the field try during the match. Slater was dumped from the Queensland side for the deciding third game in Brisbane which led to outrage from some Maroons fans.
With injuries and suspensions, Slater had to wait three years for another chance at State of Origin. Slater continued his brilliant form throughout 2005, topping the try scoring charts with 20 tries for Melbourne. Melbourne once again finished 6th in the league and defeated the Brisbane Broncos in the first game of the finals before succumbing to an in-form North Queensland Cowboys team.
Slater had a less successful 2006 season. He was suspended in round 4 for seven matches for kicking Wests Tigers' prop John Skandalis. Injuries and suspensions kept Slater out of contention for a spot in the Queensland team in 2006 and Karmichael Hunt would cement his place as the Queensland no. 1.
In his comeback game in round 13 against the Sydney Roosters, Slater only played 25 minutes of the second half on the wing and was later found guilty of using a dangerous throw on Roosters' centre Ryan Cross. He was suspended for 2 matches. After Slater's second suspension, Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy decided to give Slater some warm up matches for his comeback into first grade with both North Sydney Bears (Melbourne's feeder club in the NSWRL Premier League) and Norths Devils (Melbourne's feeder club in the Queensland Cup). Slater made his NRL comeback in round 18 playing his preferred fullback position when Melbourne Storm defeated the Brisbane Broncos at Olympic Park 10–4. In round 22 against the Wests Tigers, he was given a two match suspension for a late forearm, which was his third suspension for the season. He came back to the main line-up in round 25 against the Canberra Raiders. A few weeks later, after having claimed the minor premiership the Storm again met the Broncos, this time in the 2006 NRL Grand Final. It was Slater's first and he played at fullback in what was Melbourne's first grand final loss.
Slater had a quiet start to the 2007 season. In round 8, he suffered a badly broken cheekbone against Manly when he tried to charge down former team-mate Matt Orford's kick, and collided with teammate Sam Tagataese. On his return from injury, he was in good form, scoring 8 tries from 9 appearances and becoming a vital cog in the back line of the Storm, setting up over 20 tries during the season. He was part of the Grand final winning team, beating Manly Sea-Eagles 34–8.
Slater's start to the 2008 NRL season can be described as nothing short of sensational. He scored 3 tries in Melbourne's 32–18 round one win at the Telstra Dome, one at the Sydney Football Stadium in a third round, 10–6 loss to Sydney Roosters and two at Olympic Park in Melbourne's 26–4 win over the Manly Sea Eagles. After his scintilating start, Slater garnered praise from league experts such as Laurie Daley and Andrew Johns as being the best player in the game.
Slater's form was rewarded when he was selected at fullback for the Australian national team in the Centenary Test against New Zealand, displacing incumbent, Brett Stewart. Slater had a modest game in attack for Australia but proved his worth by making numerous try-saving tackles in Australia's 28–12 victory. Two weeks later, Slater was selected to once again represent Queensland in the State of Origin series, this time displacing incumbent, Karmichael Hunt from fullback to five-eighth.
In game I, Slater had a mixed performance for Queensland throwing a few loose passes despite running over 220 metres and making a line break that nearly resulted in a try to Greg Inglis. Queensland eventually lost, 18–10. Slater returned for game II but was dropped to the interchange bench before replacing Karmichael Hunt 30 minutes into the match.
In State of Origin III, Slater once again started from the bench with Karmichael Hunt starting at fullback. A broken arm to Scott Prince at the 17-minute mark forced Slater to fullback with Karmichael Hunt switching to five eighth. Slater broke the line with his first touch and kick return of the game. He was excellent under the high ball, thwarting many attacking kicks. With just 10 minutes to go, Johnathan Thurston broke the New South Wales line, drawing in the fullback before passing the ball to Slater who ran the remaining 30 metres to score the match-winning try and a 16–10 victory. It was Slater's first series win for Queensland.
In round 19, Slater was involved in an all-in brawl in a match against the St. George Illawarra Dragons. He was sin-binned for throwing several punches at winger, Jason Nightingale. He had a two-match suspension downgraded to one match after claiming Nightingale had provoked him with several head-butts throughout the match. In August 2008, Slater was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, In September 2008, Slater narrowly missed out on the Dally M Medal, Player of the Year, finishing 2 points behind Manly's Matt Orford. A one-week suspension in round 19 deducted 3 points from Slater's tally, which would have won him the medal.
He capped off a brilliant year by winning the Rugby League World Golden Boot Award as the best player in the world. In 2008 he also received the Rugby League International Federation's international player of the year award.
In October 2008 Slater was selected in the final 24-man Australian squad but hesitated playing since he and his wife were expecting their first child. Billy Slater went on to play fullback for Australia in the 2008 World Cup, scoring hat-tricks in matches against England & Fiji. Billy Slater won the Man of the match twice in tournament for his performance in both games.
About midway through the second half of the World Cup final Slater, who had set up Australia's first two tries, made a grave misjudgement. The fullback threw a wild pass back in field after attempting to go the short side from a kick return and it was snapped up by Benji Marshall for a gift four-pointer. Although Melbourne teammate Greg Inglis bought them back within 2 points with a try, a penalty try, courtesy of a Joel Monaghan infringement ruled out any possible comeback.
Although Australia lost the game to New Zealand, Slater was named Player of the Tournament following the World Cup final in Brisbane. He was also the competition's top tryscorer with 7 tries.
In April 2009, he was named in the preliminary 25-man squad to represent Queensland in the opening State of Origin match for 2009, and was subsequently picked at fullback for the opening State of Origin match. Billy was the first try scorer in the 2009 State of Origin Series.
Melbourne finished the season 4th on the NRL table and avenged their 2008 Grand Final loss to Manly by defeating them 40–12 in the first week of the finals. Slater's four try haul earned him man of the match honours. Slater notched up his 100th try in Melbourne's 40–10 defeat of the Brisbane Broncos in the preliminary final, becoming only the second Melbourne player to do so (after Matt Geyer).
The following week Slater was named Melbourne's Player of the Year making it the second consecutive year he won the award. During the off-season he was given the first 'Player of the Finals' award, presented by the Rugby League Writers' Association.
Slater topped off the season with selection for Australia in the 2009 Four Nations tournament in Europe. He played in the first two matches against New Zealand and then England. He scored three tries in Australia's 46–16 win over England in the final and also acrobatically tapped the ball back infield setting up a try for teammate, Smith.
For the 2010 ANZAC Test, Slater was selected to play for Australia at fullback in their victory against New Zealand. Despite Melbourne being stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships due to the discovery of extensive salary cap rorting, Slater was allowed to keep his Clive Churchill Medal. He was also involved in Queensland's 3–0 whitewash in the 2010 State of Origin series and received the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series. In the third match, he saved a certain try, before scoring the match-turning and -winning try with five minutes remaining.
In the NRL, Slater again played for Melbourne Storm. He scored two tries in Round 2 where he broke the record for the number of tries scored for Melbourne Storm, previously held by Matt Geyer. Slater scored a further try in games held in Rounds 5, 6, 8, 21, and 25 and in Rounds 16 and 23, he scored two tries in each game. The Melbourne Storm won the minor premiership, but were defeated by the New Zealand Warriors in the Preliminary Final, ending Slater's season. He was awarded the 2011 Dally M Medal for best and fairest player of the year in the NRL.
Following the awarding of the Dally M Medal, there was commentary about Slater's prowess. Sports reporters Ray Warren said that he "didn't think Slater was as good a player as he had been in the past"; while Andrew Johns labelled Slater as the best fullback he has seen.
Slater played in all three 2011 State of Origin games, as fullback for the Queensland Maroons. He scored in the last 10 minutes of Game I; and scored in the last 15 minutes of Game III, both won by Queensland.
On 3 October, Slater was selected for the Australian Kangaroos, to play as fullback in the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations tournament. While on tour, he was named the Rugby League International Federation's International Player of the Year for the second time. He suffered a collarbone injury and was ruled out of the tournament.
In the 2012 NRL season, Billy Slater scored 16 tries NRL Try Stats, which made him the highest fullback try scorer in the NRL with 140 tries, going past previous holder Rhys Wesser with 129. Slater was Queensland's fullback for Games I and II of the 2012 State of Origin series which saw the Maroons' record winning streak extend to seven series. He scored a try in Melbourne's premiership victory over Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, where Slater was bitten in the ear by James Graham.
He scored the first try in Melbourne's 2013 World Club Challenge win over Leeds and also the first try of Melbourne's 2013 season in the Round 1 game against St George Illawarra. Slater played at fullback for Australia in the 2013 ANZAC Test victory against New Zealand. He scored a hat-trick (3 Tries) against the Brisbane Broncos. Slater played all three games of the 2013 State of Origin series in which Queensland extended their record for consecutive series victories to eight. During the season Slater also became the 8th player in history of the League to score 150 tries. He was chosen in Australia's 24-man squad for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup which Australia won.
Slater reached a milestone of having played 250 games for Melbourne Storm on 15 March 2014.
An established ambassador for Adidas, in 2012 Slater appeared as part of a promotional campaign for their F50 adizero III boots alongside Dale Thomas of Aussie Rules and European football (soccer) player David Villa
Billy Slater participated in the television show Australia's Greatest Athlete and was the winner for both Season 1 (broadcast on Channel 9) and Season 2 (on Channel 7) against a diverse range of athletes such as Olympic gold medalist Steve Hooker, ironman Ky Hurst and V8 Supercar champions Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.
A regular contributor to Canterbury Junior Football Club in Melbourne, Slater also frequently gives up his time to help other Junior Sport Programs around Australia.
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