Slater's 'small gesture' thrills young Leeds fan
A young Billy Slater used to wait eagerly to meet his heroes after an NRL game in his local North Queensland.
It might only be a chat or a signature, but these small gestures lasted long in his memory.
The Melbourne Storm fullback got a chance to return the favour for another young fan on Friday night.
Leeds Rhinos fan Neil Robinson and his son William had travelled 16,000 kilometres to watch their side get beaten 38-4 by a rampant Storm team at the World Club Challenge, but stayed after the full-time siren went to engage with both teams as they walked past.
Slater admitted feeling a bit down after sustaining a minor shoulder injury during the game – he is still expected to be fit for round one – but was inspired by their support and dedication to their team.
"I still remember the autographs I got when I was a young kid," he told NRL.com.
"I just saw them during the game – the Leeds Rhinos fans – and thought how far they had travelled to come over and support their team. I thought it was fitting to give one of the young fellas a nice little memento to go home with and something he'll probably remember for the rest of his life.
"I remember interactions with NRL players when I was growing up. Things like that can make a big difference."
Initially, the young fan gave the medal back to Slater after posing for a picture, but the champion fullback smiled and told him it was his to keep.
"They were obviously blown away," he said.
"It was a small gesture from myself. It will go a long way for them, and they'll remember that for a long time."