It was his first full game since coming back from twin shoulder reconstructions, but Melbourne veteran Billy Slater showed glimpses of returning to his best NRL form.
That’s the belief of Storm coach Craig Bellamy, who watched his fullback set up a try in his side’s 22-14 comeback win over the Wests Tigers on Sunday.
“The great thing about what he’s doing at the moment is he’s not sitting back waiting for things to come to him,” Bellamy said of Slater’s second game back.
“He’s typical Billy Slater – he’s going and finding the action. That’s what he’s always been really good at, and that’s what he’s doing at the moment.
“The more game time he gets and the more minutes he gets, he’ll get better and better.”
After giving Slater 50 minutes in his return against Brisbane last week, Bellamy revealed he had originally planned to tack on an extra 10 minutes at Leichhardt Oval but Slater volunteered for a full shift following a jaw injury to Cameron Munster.
“The amount of time he’s been out and the games he’s missed, it’s always going to take a little while for him to get back to what he thinks is his best,” Bellamy said.
“Last week when he played 50 minutes, we were looking at him playing an hour this week, perhaps more. But because of Munster’s injury, he put his hand up.
“A couple of times there when he was down on his haunches but you expect that.”
Bellamy also had plenty of good things to say about his younger troops for keeping their heads despite going down 14-0 against the Tigers inside the opening 30 minutes.
The Storm recovered to maintain their unbeaten start to the season ahead of their round-five clash against premiership fancies Penrith on Saturday.
“I was real proud of some of the younger players that hung in, they played long minutes. We lost (Christian) Welch with concussion, so our interchange was down,” Bellamy said.
“But guys like Nelson (Asofa-Solomona), Felise Kaufusi and Kenny Bromwich, they played real long minutes for us and it was hot out there. So I thought they done a great job.”