‘He is exhausted’: Slater fatigued by judiciary Storm
MELBOURNE are giving Billy Slater time to recover from the emotional toll of fighting his case at the NRL judiciary, which threatened to rule him out of Sunday's grand final.
Slater overturned a shoulder-charge citing on Tuesday night, allowing him to play against the Sydney Roosters in his career swan song.
Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said Slater was emotionally exhausted but that the successful hearing had brought a buzz to the club.
The Melbourne No.1 was put on light duties at training on Wednesday before the team flew to Sydney, with plans for him to build up his workload leading into the ANZ Stadium title showdown.
"There's no doubt he's emotionally fatigued," Ponissi said.
"He's put a lot of work in. He's sent me countless texts and emails over the last few days and some of that footage that was shown (at the hearing) was put together by he and (wife) Nicole.
"Coming home he was happy but just exhausted."
Ponissi said Slater's judiciary success had given the Storm a boost as they strive to become the first club in the NRL era to claim back-to-back titles.
He said the value that the Test custodian brought to the side in such a high- stakes match game couldn't be under estimated.
"We all saw in the preliminary final exactly how important he is," Ponissi said.
"He's a vital part of our team for lots of reasons.
"We would have had a wonderful replacement in Jahrome Hughes but there's only one Billy Slater and the way he's playing at the moment, especially in big games, you can't buy that sort of experience."