Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Billy Slater was a generational talent and the greatest fullback of the NRL era so far and one day will likely receive the honour of becoming an Immortal.
He accumulated a litany of accolades throughout his illustrious career but what sets Slater apart from many other contenders for Immortal status is the fact that he permanently changed the way that fullbacks play.
The only other player to ever have such an impact on the fullback position is Clive Churchill, who became an Immortal in 1981 and deservedly so.
Slater’s ability to run the ball out of his own end was so hard to defend against that the NRL introduced a seven tackle set when the ball was kicked over the dead ball line as opposition sides would often deliberately kick the ball dead when versing the Melbourne Storm purely so they did not have to try and combat a Billy Slater onslaught.
We are yet to see a single player have such a profound influence on our game since, as Slater’s talent not only led to rule changes but plenty of success for the Storm.
Throughout his club career Slater won four grand Finals with the Storm as well as two premierships.
In 2008 he was named the Dally M Fullback of the Year and would go on to be bestowed the honour on a further two occasions and was named the Dally M Player of the Year in 2011.
He is also a two-time Clive Churchill Medallist being named the Grand Final’s best and fairest in 2009 and 2017.
Slater’s success also extends to the representative level as the 39-year-old won nine State of Origin series with Queensland and two Rugby League World Cups with Australia.
Following a milestone season in 2008 Slater was given the Golden Boot Award and would go on to be named the Dally M Representative Player of the year in 2010.
In 2010 and 2018 he received the Wally Lewis Medal for being the best player throughout both Origin series.
Billy Slater’s exemplary career has gone down as one of the greatest in Rugby League history and it deserves to be immortalised.