Slater’s knee concern here to stay: Storm
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is resigned to star fullback Billy Slater having to nurse his knee problem for the rest of his rugby league career.
Slater overcame a knee injury to be one of standout players in Australia’s World Cup final win over New Zealand in England at the weekend.
He had hurt his left knee a fortnight before the final and only made the decider after intensive treatment.
“When he first hurt it in Origin last year, the medical advice then was that it’s going to be an issue for the rest of his career,” Bellamy said on Tuesday.
“It’s going to take some managing and that’s what it is at the moment.”
But Bellamy said he never had concerns about Slater playing in the final.
“We were very confident that Tim (Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens) and the medical staff wouldn’t let him play unless he was (right),” Bellamy said.
Bellamy also took the chance for a quiet dig at NRL referees ahead of next season.
“It was really good to see he got a couple of penalties as well,” Bellamy said of Slater in the World Cup.
“He was taken without the ball a couple of times and the English referee picked that up.
“Hopefully there’s a couple of signs there that our referees might be able to see the same thing next year.”
But Bellamy was less pleased about the scheduling pressures on the game’s biggest stars like Slater.
He would like to see a shorter World Cup format in future and would prefer no NRL games during the State Of Origin schedule.
The Storm’s World Cup representatives won’t resume training with the club until late January.
“All of us here at club-land are worried about the workload of our elite players,” Bellamy said.
“Us coaches have been going on about that for a while.”