Who will replace Billy Slater at fullback in 2019?
Who will replace Billy Slater at fullback in 2019?

The contenders to replace Slater at fullback for the Storm

MELBOURNE superstar Billy Slater has confirmed he'll hang up the boots at the end of the 2018 season.

After 16 seasons in the NRL, Slater will leave a massive hole in the Storm side.

So who are contenders to replace him in the No.1 jumper?

Foxsports.com.au takes a look at the club's current options.

CAMERON MUNSTER

Made in the mould of an old-school footballer, Munster could play anywhere in the backline.

The 23-year-old made his debut at fullback and virtually stayed there while Slater was sidelined for almost two seasons with recurring shoulder injuries.

Playing the custodian role is one Munster feels most comfortable in, but he's also quickly taken to his current position of five-eighth.

"If I want to go back to No.1, I'd have to lose a couple of kilos," Munster told Sunday Night with Matty Johns.

"I still love playing No.1, it's still my preferred position, to be completely honest.

"At the end of the day, whatever team I'm playing for, I just want to do my best for them.

"Wherever they decide to put me, I'll put my best foot forward."

JAHROME HUGHES

This season has been a breakout one for Hughes, who made his NRL debut with Gold Coast back in 2013.

Although he's played only 15 first-grade games, the 23-year-old has starred for the Storm ever since he was given an opportunity during the Origin period.

Another versatile player on the club's books until 2020, he has proven his worth at both fullback and halfback.

Jahrome Hughes scores a try for the Storm.
Jahrome Hughes scores a try for the Storm.

"Fullback's his best spot, be we could see him playing in the centres or on the wing if he had to," coach Craig Bellamy said two weeks ago.

"We think he's a good, smart footy player and picks up things really quickly. He's got a lot of natural ability speed-wise and game-sense wise."

When asked recently about his preferred position, Hughes replied: "If they want to put me anywhere, I'll be happy to play there. I guess getting in the team week in, week out is probably my main goal.

"It doesn't matter where it is, whether it's on the bench, at fullback or in the halves, I'm happy to get a couple of games with the Storm."

RYAN PAPENHUYZEN

The 20-year-old has been in the Storm system since he was signed from the Wests Tigers ahead of the 2017 season.

Papenhuyzen has impressed throughout the junior grades, having represented NSW in the Under 16s, 18s and 20s.

Ryan Papenhuyzen during Storm pre-season training. Picture: Jonathan Demos
Ryan Papenhuyzen during Storm pre-season training. Picture: Jonathan Demos

Yet to make his NRL debut, he's been plying his trade with the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the Intrust Super Cup this year.

Given he's on contract with the Storm until 2020, the Storm clearly hold him in high regard.

SCOTT DRINKWATER

Hailing from the NSW Central Coast suburb of Terrigal, Drinkwater has been at the Storm for the past three seasons.

Able to play in the halves, Drinkwater is yet to make his NRL debut and has mostly played at fullback this season for Easts Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup.

His good form got him into the No.1 jersey for Queensland in the annual Residents clash with NSW.

Scott Drinkwater takes a bomb during the Residents game. Picture: Adam Head
Scott Drinkwater takes a bomb during the Residents game. Picture: Adam Head

The 21-year-old is off-contract, but reportedly has a two-year deal on the table at the Storm.

Newcastle has also expressed interest in bringing him back closer to family and friends.



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