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17 Dec

Slater dreaming of fairytale NRL finish

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Billy Slater is hoping for the ultimate send-off in the NRL grand final.It’s his chance at a fairytale finish that was almost taken away from him.
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But now Billy Slater could bow out a premiership-winner when he runs out for Melbourne for the last time in Sunday’s NRL grand final against the Sydney Roosters.

In his first interview of grand final week, Slater spoke about the emotional toll of having to defend a shoulder charge citing at the judiciary on Tuesday night.

After a mammoth three-hour hearing, Slater was found not guilty and cleared to play.

“It was quite an emotional start to my preparation and quite draining to be honest,” Slater said on The NRL Footy Show on the Nine Network.

“It wasn’t a great first four days of grand final week for me. It was really important for me to voice my perspective of the situation and I’m glad the judiciary members understood that.

“For me now it’s important to go out and prepare myself to be able to play the best I can on Sunday. I didn’t do any preparation before the hearing in terms of playing.

“It was all about the hearing.”

Now the 35-year-old will appear in his 319th and final NRL game spanning 16 seasons, including 31 State of Origin games for Queensland and 30 Tests for .

He has also scored 229 tries in a career that looked over when twin shoulder reconstructions limited him to just eight games across the 2016-17 seasons.

“It’s obviously my last game. For that to be in a grand final is pretty special,” Slater said.

“The last few years have been a rollercoaster for me.

“To be able to finish my career with a healthy body and to go out in a grand final and hopefully a premiership, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Slater said teammate Cameron Munster would be key to finishing with the title, making the Storm the first side in over 25 years to win back-to-back premierships in a unified league.

“He handles things pretty well, Cameron,” Slater said.

“He doesn’t get overawed by any situation – we saw that in State of Origin III last year when he made his debut and he was the best player on the field.

“He’s a bit old school, nothing seems to faze him and he’s pretty jovial about how he goes about his preparation as well.

“He’s been playing some great football, especially in the back half of this year and he’ll be important for us on Sunday.”

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