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Melbourne's milestone men relieved with win

Will Botoulas, Melbourne Correspondent NRL.com Sat, Mar 15, 2014 - 8:50 PM

Cameron Smith and Billy Slater were relieved to finish their milestone game with a win. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos

In what was a week of enourmous build up, milestone men Billy Slater and Cameron Smith looked very relieved men as they sat next to coach Craig Bellamy after their 18-17 win over the Panthers.

For the second straight week, a last-minute drop goal secured the side a one-point victory and ensured the night would remain a memorable one for the right reasons.

Slater shared his 250 game milestone on a night where fellow champion Queenslander and club captain Cameron Smith became the Storm's games record holder with 263 first-grade appearances. 

Given the significant build-up to the game, Slater admitted to being a relieved man after the 80 minutes.

"I'm glad the game's over to be honest but It's been a really good week," said the star fullback.

"To have your 250th to coincide with Cam breaking the games record I was obviously happy to share the moment with Smithy.

"We shared a lot in our career and for it to fall on the same day for us was probably fitting."

The milestone game was not without its controversy for Slater, after being sin-binned in the 58th minute for impeding Peter Wallace as the Panthers halfback attempted to play the ball quickly.

"I didn't feel as though I had too many options to get out of the road," said Slater.

"I don't know whether that's a sin bin or not, that's their interpretation, there are penalties in the ruck all the time and I suppose if you're a fullback and you make one mistake in that position you're looking at 10 in the bin."

But his teammates were able to hold firm, much to the delight of the coach that has nurtured Slater throughout his entire career.

"It's been a really big night for the club and I am just proud the guys did find a way," said Craig Bellamy.

"When Billy was in the bin we were down to 12 men and I though there could have been a little bit of panic set in but I didn't think there was, I thought we did a really good job there.

"We will have a look at what we need to improve on in the next couple of days but tonight is a night of celebration for the club."

For the fifth straight year the Storm will enter week three of the season with a 2-0 record.

The Storm will host the Newcastle Knights on Monday night at AAMI park in Round 3.