MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy has revealed Billy Slater will be named at fullback for Thursday night’s blockbuster against Brisbane Broncos.
Slater told Bellamy over coffee on Sunday he was ready to play after 12-months on the sidelines.
The 33-year-old has not worn the prized No.1 jersey since Round 1 last year when he aggravated his surgically repaired left shoulder.
But a secret fitness test in Melbourne on Saturday while teammates were returning from Friday night’s win over Auckland Warriors confirmed to Slater he is primed to face the Broncs at AAMI Park this Thursday.
Slater trained on Monday night and will be named on Tuesday barring any extraordinary setback.
“Billy will be named at fullback when we name the team,” Bellamy told the Herald Sun exclusively.
“(Slater did) some training with a couple of the other guys who were here (in Melbourne), just stepped up a few things and with what he had been doing, he felt quite comfortable.”
Slater, who has played just eight NRL games in the past two seasons wrecked by shoulder issues, pulled up well from the rigorous testing session.
“Obviously, he’s going to be feeling a little bit nervous, he’s going to be feeling anxious, but I’d imagine he’s going to be feeling quite excited as well,” Bellamy said.
“He’s the ultimate professional and the ultimate competitor. You just want to see this work.
“It won’t be for the lack of work he has put in if it doesn’t work out, but we are very, very confident, the medical team is very, very confident and he is very, very confident that he is right to go.”
Bellamy would not shed any light on where stand-in Storm fullback Cameron Munster would play despite the Slater protégé training at five-eighth during preseason.
Surprise Storm pivot Ryley Jacks has impressed in the first two rounds of the season.
“We just need to work what’s best for the guys,” Bellamy said. “They will all be in there somewhere.”
Storm flyer Josh Addo-Carr said it will be a “dream” running out alongside Slater.
“He’s a good role model and I just can’t wait to play with him,” Addo-Carr said. “The work he does on the field at training is just mind boggling. He is just a freak.”
On Monday Storm also re-signed Kenny Bromwich and Joe Stimson to long-term deals.