Billy Slater continues to excel following retirement
Life after football is off to a flying start for former Melbourne Storm champion Billy Slater after retiring at the end of the 2018 NRL season.
The legendary Origin and Kangaroos star recently launched a fitness app, started breeding his own horses and he’s now a part of the coaching staff at AFL club St Kilda as a kicking coach.
Slater was also recently a part of the coverage for the Indigenous vs Maori All Stars clash and will be a major asset to the Channel 9 commentary team for the 2019 NRL season.
“I’m very fortunate to be a part of the commentary team at Channel 9 this season, but was a little bit nervous before the All Stars game despite dipping my toe in the box a few times previously,” he told Macquarie Sports Radio Breakfast.
“Interviewing players is something very new to me because I’ve always been on the other end of the microphone, so having to be the one to instigate the conversation was certainly a learning curve for me, but I’m definitely excited for the challenge and being able to bring what I know and what I see to the commentary box.”
The fullback spot at the Melbourne Storm is one that Slater held for so long and there is currently an ongoing battle between Jahrome Hughes and Scott Drinkwater for the vacant position.
While there is only three weeks before the NRL season kicks off, Slater doesn’t believe that coach Craig Bellamy has made a decision on who will take his place in Round One against Brisbane Broncos.
“To be honest I don’t think he has made his mind up yet,” he said.
“Jahrome didn’t play in the trial against the Warriors on Friday because he came back a bit later for pre-season and also played a lot of minutes in the All Stars game for the Maoris, but he’s certainly got the experience.
“Scott Drinkwater has plenty of talent and had a big pre-season so I would say those two are the front runners, and I’d expect those two will likely go up to Mackay for the trial this weekend and whoever performs the best there is probably going to get the nod for round one.”
The 35-year old remains involved with the club he made his name at in a coaching capacity and there is no doubt that he will add plenty of knowledge to a side that is rebuilding after the departure of Slater and Cooper Cronk in the past two years.
He also had his say on the ongoing off-field dramas facing the NRL and is adamant that this is only a small percentage of players who are creating the negativity around the game.
“It is really disappointing that this is front and centre of our game but it is a minority, and we need to remember that the majority of our players are doing the right thing and uphold extremely good values and morals within our game,” he said.
“Looking at it as a whole there is clearly a respect issue but I’m not sure what more the NRL can do with this and I’m not sure whether they stand players down or wait until the court process finishes and risk having the game dragged through the mud in the meantime in a long judicial process.
“This isn’t an NRL job to teach people to respect others because that’s a parent’s job when these guys are growing up and the game just enforces that – we really do need to think of the welfare of everyone involved when dealing with this issues.”
The legend will continue to be a major influence in the sport of rugby league despite his retirement and having him give insight on commentary this season will enhance an already strong Channel 9 coverage that boasts the likes of Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns.