Billy Slater has intimated he won't play on in 2019 if he doesn't feel he can give
Billy Slater has intimated he won't play on in 2019 if he doesn't feel he can give "100 per cent”. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AAP

Slater to decide future before end of the season

MELBOURNE Storm superstar Billy Slater is yet to decide on his NRL future but says this time he won't leave his club hanging until after grand final day.

The 35-year-old is weighing up whether to extend his decorated career into a 17th season, having made his final representative appearance during this year's State of Origin series.

Slater helped the Storm to the premiership last year but waited until their end-of-season awards night to announce he would play on in 2018.

The Storm are top of the ladder with six rounds remaining and eyeing off back-to-back titles, but Slater says that won't factor into his decision-making.

"I would have thought that I'd make the decision before we get to that," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"I've been fortunate to play in many grand finals, I've won four. That's not going to determine whether I go on next year.

"It'll be everything. It'll be my body, it'll be my mind and whether I feel I can give 100 per cent next year."

The Storm have enjoyed enviable depth this season with Jahrome Hughes impressing while filling in for Slater at fullback during the State of Origin window.

"It doesn't impact on my decision but it is great for the club," Slater said.

"We've had guys come through in the past - Cameron Munster, Brodie Croft, young Brandon Smith. The club's in good hands, obviously doing a great job at recruitment and bringing these young guys in and turning them into consistent first-grade footballers.

"With Craig (Bellamy) at the helm for another three years, it's in a good position moving forward. It certainly gives you comfort that the club's going to be competitive."

Melbourne hosts 10th-placed Canberra at AAMI Park on Saturday night and Slater believes the Storm is well placed to extend their seven-game winning streak.

"This time of the year, you want to be playing good football," he said.

"There's only six games to go until the finals and for us, we're all back together now.

"Origin's over, we've got a few guys back from injury. It's about the time that we need to start building on our performances."

- AAP



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