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Slater beats injuries to star in NRL win

Maroons fans can breathe easy again after champion fullback Billy Slater overcame two injury scares on Sunday to star in Melbourne's 16-14 NRL win over Newcastle.
Slater beats injuries to star in NRL win
by AAP

By Melissa Woods

MELBOURNE, June 16 AAP - Maroons fans can breathe easy again after champion fullback Billy Slater overcame two injury scares on Sunday to star in Melbourne's 16-14 NRL win over Newcastle.

He scored the match-winning try at AAMI Park with just over 10 minutes remaining.

The Queensland custodian twice sought assistance from Melbourne's trainers in the first half, leaving Maroons fans on edge with the second State of Origin showdown on Wednesday week.

Just four minutes into the match, the 29-year-old was limping heavily after he was kneed in his troublesome knee by Knights back-rower Beau Scott in a tackle.

Slater struggled and limped across the field for a few minutes, with the injury contributing to his poor attempt to stop Newcastle winger Joey Leilua, who spun out of the tackle to touch down for their opening try.

Slater ran out the injury only to find himself on the deck again late in the half.

He and Queensland teammate Darius Boyd, at fullback for the Knights, both leapt high to take a Brett Finch bomb and Slater's cheekbone and Boyd's knee collided as they crashed to the ground.

Slater immediately clutched his face and signalled for the trainer but again shook off the injury and was back to his devastating best in the second half.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he was concerned about the knee injury, which meant Slater was below par in the first half.

"The knee was a big worry for us because he came up looking like he'd done some more damage," Bellamy said.

"It's obviously taken a knock and it's not 100 per cent.

"It was like he was in the wars today and he didn't have the first half we usually get from Billy Slater but champions like that come up with the big plays when you need it."


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