Moylan match-up another test for Slater
Amidst calls for Billy Slater's return to the Kangaroos side in the upcoming Anzac Test, the Storm superstar's comeback will be put to the test in an absorbing fullback showdown with rising star Matt Moylan and the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old Slater has so far impressed in his two games back in the NRL to the extent many are already calling for his return to the fullback position in the Australian and Queensland sides.
Slater has already gone head-to-head with current Kangaroos and Queensland fullback Darius Boyd and the Broncos in Round 3 before taking on NSW fullback James Tedesco and the Wests Tigers last week.
Kangaroos, Maroons and Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith said Slater's form may force selectors to shift Boyd to the wing at rep level to include his club teammate.
"If he's playing the best he can, he's going to be the best fullback in the competition," Smith said of Slater this week.
"[In Origin] that's the way it was before he was injured and we had a really good formula with Billy at fullback and Darius on the wing – even though Darius has been exceptional.
"[Darius] might have mentioned to Billy a couple of weeks ago that No.1 jersey is his.
"As for national [selection], I'm not too sure if he'll be ready for the Test match. There's only eight or nine games before that Test.
"It all comes down to performance and if he keeps improving from how he's played so far he's going to be every chance."
Storm coach Craig Bellamy insists Slater is focused on his form at club level where his side remains undefeated heading into the clash with Penrith.
"We're not looking at Maroon or international jumpers yet; I don't know if Billy is either but probably not," Bellamy said. "He's just trying to find his way back.
"Getting that match fitness or match condition isn't easy. You can only get that playing games.
"We're not expecting too much too early but we're really happy with what's he's been doing out on the field."
Slater will be eager to outclass Moylan, who has produced three try assists in four games this season. Moylan's defensive reliability at the back has also helped Penrith earn the second-best defensive record in the NRL.
Slater meanwhile has recorded 210 run metres with 11 tackle breaks from his two matches back in the NRL, with the Storm boasting the stingiest defence in the competition.