Slater all about what's best for Maroons
Returning from two severe shoulder injuries that kept him out of the game for a majority of the last two years, Billy Slater is quickly returning to his legendary form and is back in contention for a Maroons jersey.
The Queensland fullback spot will come down to Slater and current holder Darrius Boyd. However, Slater insists he only wants Queensland to be successful rather than promote his own selection.
"He's (Boyd) a good mate and a teammate - it's not a rivalry between Darius and myself, It's what's best for Queensland," Slater said.
"I've played a lot of football with Darius and he's a fantastic fullback and he's probably playing the best that he's played in his whole career. He's a great asset to Queensland so wherever we are it will be what's best for Queensland and the selectors and coach will come up with that.
"I'm a Queenslander. I haven't played for Queensland for a couple of years and I'd love the opportunity to get back in that arena. It's obviously going to be a very strong side but there's still a couple of rounds of footy to go and hopefully I can continue playing good football. If I do get that opportunity I will make the most of it."
Making his comeback in Round 3, the 33-year-old has been instrumental in the Melbourne Storm's NRL ascendency atop the ladder, four points clear of their nearest rival. While Slater's quick rekindling of form was unexpected for some, he believes he can still improve.
"I wasn't surprised with how I'm playing, I probably expected myself to be playing better to be honest," Slater said. "I'm always really confident in what I can do and what I can bring to the team.
"My shoulder is going really well. It was disappointing not to play in the [Anzac] Test last week but I think that week off has certainly been good for me. I've enjoyed that weekend off and got my body in a really good position."
Slater is forming a lethal combination with electric wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr, and it culminated in a quick explosion when the trio connected for the Storm's first four tries in the opening 20 minutes against the St George-Illawarra Dragons in their last match played in Round 9.
"It was probably my best one last week against the Dragons and my challenge now is to improve on that and maintain what I'm doing well," Slater said. "It's a good unit to be a part of.
"I'm just a beneficiary of those two guys outside me. It's working really well at the moment."
Melbourne resume NRL duties this week after a busy Representative round where 18 players took part across the six matches. However, it will be a tough task against the Gold Coast Titans as part of the round's double header at Suncorp Stadium. Jesse Bromwich will miss the Storm's next two games with a club-imposed suspension along with injuries to Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Christian Welch, who is out for the remainder of the season.
"We've been hit pretty hard in the middle of the field, Jesse's out for a couple of weeks," Slater said.
"It won't be a distraction on the field. It's disappointing for the reputation of our club and the players within the club. On the field, apart from not having Jesse out on the field with us, it won't be a disruption with our preparation. We're professional enough to move on.
"It's a good position to be in (at the top of the table). We've worked really hard to be in that position. We always know the start of the season is really important for us going into Origin time. Hopefully, we can sustain that position through that period but it's testing times for us at the moment with a few injuries."