|BILLY SLATER AUTOBIOGRAPHY
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During a long and decorated career with the Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australia, Billy Slater has forged a reputation as not merely one of rugby league s great fullbacks, but as one of the best players in the game's long history. Slater s story is that of a young country recruit with superb natural talent who rose quickly to the top level playing with the Storm after just one pre-season in Melbourne, and starring for Queensland during just his second season in the NRL. But inside the player who has scored so many audacious tries on the game s biggest stages is a fierce competitive drive and a relentless work ethic, one inherited from parents who worked multiple jobs to provide for their two children. From the northern Queensland town of Innisfail, Slater enjoyed the quintessential Queensland upbringing. His father was a local rugby league coach, one grandfather worked in the cane fields and another was a miner and a country and western singer. For a time horses rather than football were Slater s passion. He gave up rugby league for eighteen months and worked as a track rider and stablehand for renowned trainer Gai Waterhouse in Sydney. But it was on the football field rather than the racetrack that Slater was always destined to make his name. Never the biggest or the strongest player as a junior, he worked harder than most to become an integral part of the Melbourne Storm and Queensland dynasties, and an automatic selection in the national team. During his decorated career Slater has been confronted by the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal, career-threatening injuries, the disappointment of lost grand finals, his early axing from the Queensland team, a game-losing mistake with the Kangaroos and accusations about his allegedly rough style of play. Slater has emerged not merely as a great of the game, but as an even more resilient character, a respected spokesman for his sport, a devoted husband and father and in a moment of emotional vindication a member of the Storm s defiant 2012 premiership team.