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Slater backs Smith to take his time

Melbourne Storm's star fullback Billy Slater says the uncertainty over club and Test captain Cameron Smith's playing future is no burden.
Slater backs Smith to take his time
by AAP

By Greg Buckle

MELBOURNE, Jan 24 AAP - Melbourne Storm's star fullback Billy Slater says the uncertainty over club and Test captain Cameron Smith's playing future is no burden.

However, Slater admitted Smith, 30, faces a life-changing decision as the Queensland skipper ponders a huge offer from the Storm's NRL rivals the Brisbane Broncos.

"Cameron has a lot to weigh up, where his future lies after this year," Smith told reporters on Friday.

"We all go through it and we all respect the decision and the time he has to take.

"It's certainly no burden on myself or any of the other players.

"We'd love to see our captain and great mate stay at this club.

"He's been here for such a long time (since 2002). But there's no added pressure because I know I'll be in that position in probably 12 months' time.

"You respect their decision and give them their support as good mates."

The superstar fullback said he's happy act as a sounding board for one of the game's all-time greats.

"If they need to talk to you or run something by you, they will. It's always a tough time to go through a contract negotiation," Slater said.

"He's at a crucial period in his career and he has a young family so he has a lot to think about."

Slater has enough on his plate with his own pre-season preparations which have been interrupted by knee surgery following Australia's World Cup win in Cardiff in October.

Having resumed training this week, Slater is yet to join in at full pace.

"I've probably got a couple more weeks in the rehab group," he said.

"Hopefully that will progress to doing a little bit of running in a week to two weeks' time. All is looking good for round one.

"The knee is holding up quite well. I just had some cartilage repaired and the meniscus repaired."

Manly host arch rivals the Storm at Brookvale Oval in round one on March 8.




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