Billy Slater

Cronk's decision non-factor for Slater

The 33-year-old is focused on returning to his superstar form after making his comeback from two long injury-plagued years.

Broncos welcome Slater's return

‌Slater has been tipped to return against the Broncos on Thursday night after over a year out of the game because of a shoulder injury. 

Smith backs Slater to return sooner rather than later

Though Slater himself revealed less than a month ago he was no certainty to return, Smith is very confident his fullback will be back.

"The good news is Billy Slater will play this year," Smith told The Courier-Mail.

"I don’t have an exact date, but it will be earlier rather than later — the good thing is that the fans will see Billy Slater back on the field again.

"The coaches as far as I know haven’t put any pressure on him to be fit for round one, we’d love him to be there but if he feels he’s not right to go, it’s his decision."

No Slater 'not end of world': Storm

But Storm assistant Adam O'Brien says it "won't be the end of the world" if the veteran fullback misses the start of the NRL season.

Melbourne are hopeful off-contract Slater can finally overcome a second straight shoulder reconstruction this season.

Slater to return in Storm's trials

The Storm won't risk the 33-year-old in February's Auckland Nines, with a shoulder injury limiting the former Australian and Queensland star to eight games in two years.

Slater's new role with career on hold

Perhaps because his face looks as fresh as it did when he made his NRL debut back in 2003 the sight of Slater issuing orders to a Queensland backline boasting Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd was something of a strange one on Thursday morning but it shapes as a crucial part of the team's preparation for Game One of the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series next Wednesday night.