Slater in doubt for Raiders clash
Melbourne has been dealt an early blow ahead of their clash against Canberra with Billy Slater casting himself in serious doubt to make the trip.
The star fullback was a sore and sorry figure in the sheds after Monday's win over the Warriors.
He found himself on the receiving end of one of the tackles of the season after he was blindsided by Warriors winger Manu Vatuvai in the first half.
Vatuvai laid on a bone-crunching tackle that left the Storm No.1 clutching his left shoulder and limping to the backfield in the hands of the physio before playing out the rest of game.
The veteran fullback suffered a sprained AC joint on the opposite shoulder last season that saw him miss three games.
With just a six-day turnaround before facing the Raiders, Slater could not guarantee he would be make the journey to the nation's capital.
"Not exactly confident, no. I'm still pretty tender at the moment and I'll know more in a few days but I would say doubtful more than confident," Slater said.
"I've aggravated my shoulder on a couple of occasions over the weekend so unless those injuries settle down I am doubtful this week but hopefully not too long on the sidelines."
Slater admits he never saw the 103kg Vatuvai coming as he broke clear and appeared destined to score before the huge hit.
"He snuck up on me the big fella, I honestly didn't see him coming until I was on the ground," Slater said.
"He is a good fella Manu, I get along really well with him, as soon as he realised I was in a bit of pain his main focus was to make sure I was okay.
"He even asked as we were walking off at half-time if I was alright but obviously when we are out on the field we don't hold back."
Despite his wounded body Slater was still on hand to conduct his annual Billy's Buddies clinic for around 200 youngsters at Gosch's Paddock on Wednesday.
With every kid decked out in a Storm t-shirt with No.1 on the back it was a sight that still struck a chord with the much-decorated champion.
"It's very humbling actually to see all the kids with your name and number on their back so I get a bit of a kick out of it when I get out here," Slater said.
"I look forward to this day every year… I think we've got upwards of 400 members so it is a great concept.
"The club and the game of rugby league has done a great job in the state of Victoria so if we can do our little bit for the code and get kids out there enjoying themselves that is what it is all bout."
Melbourne will make their fourth road trip of the season when they take on Canberra at GIO Stadium this Sunday at 2pm.