NRL superstar confident of overcoming knee surgery in time to play.
Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater says a lack of game-time this pre-season will not be a factor has he looks to overcome the affects of off-season knee surgery.
Despite the season starting on March 8 against the Manly Sea Eagles, Slater beleives he will be fit to play.
“The knee’s going along alright. I’ve had a couple of runs this week which is pretty much ahead of schedule,” Slater said.
I’m still pencilled in for round one.”
And he added that a late pre-season start is nothing new.
“Probably in the last six years that has been that case. We’ve had short pre-seasons and come back in January,” he said.
“Even though we start the season a little bit under done, you need to do it.
“The season is that long and with the Origin period in the middle of the year, you can get a little bit stale and get flat.
“It’s important that we do have that break and freshen right up.”
Slater was one of the stars for Australia in last year’s World Cup, scoring two tries in the Kangaroos romp over New Zealand in the final.
The exciting playmaker battled a niggling knee injury and opted to have it operated on to try and get the most out of his 30-year-old body this season.
And despite the lack of playing time, Slater was still confident of passing any fitness tests thrown his way in the next four weeks.
“We’ve got a trial up in Brisbane against the Bulldogs two weeks before the season starts. If I’m okay I’ll put my hand up for probably half a game there.
“But I’m not too worried about that. If I need that extra fortnight to really make sure my knee’s okay for round one, I will.”
Slater says playing in round one is always a major goal during pre-season, but the motivation is particularly strong against the Sea Eagles.
“We’ve had a great history with Manly, played a few grand finals against each other and some big preliminary finals as well,” he said.
“There’s a great rivalry there and one that we respect their side and I’m sure they respect us.
“It’s always a physical and tough game against Manly so you always want to be a part of those ones.”