NRL great Billy Slater has confirmed that he’s retiring.
The 35-year-old Melbourne Storm star announced on Wednesday afternoon that this current season would be his last.
Slater made his NRL debut with Melbourne in 2003 and has since played 313 games.
He has also been a key player for Queensland’s State of Origin side, having helped the team achieve eight series victories.
He also has represented Australia in 30 Tests matches.
“I feel so very lucky to have had the career I’ve had,” Slater said.
“Eighteen years ago I made the decision to pack my car up to drive 20 hours to chase my dream.
“This club gave me the opportunity. I’ve always felt extremely grateful and a sense of loyalty to this club and the people associated with it.
“I am proud to have helped in the development of this club to become one of the most powerful sporting organisations in Australia. I am also proud of the part I have played in the growth of rugby league in this state.
“To the fans of rugby league, thanks for creating the atmosphere at the games, thanks to all our Melbourne Storm supporters who pour into AAMI Park each week, but also thanks to all fans from all teams, it’s been a pleasure to entertain you all.”
Slater also thanked coach Craig Bellamy for his support and guidance, as well as his fellow team mates Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.
“To my family, starting with my mum, dad and sister, thank you for all your support through my football life,” he said.
“To my wife Nicole, haven’t we enjoyed some great moments? But it’s the tough times that I’ve needed you the most. You’ve given me unconditional love and support.”
Bellamy praised Slater’s performance and influence on the game, saying it was a “sad day” but without Slater there “wouldn’t be that many kids playing rugby league in Victoria”.
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