Billy Slater says he’s on track to return to the NRL in 2017 as he recovers from his second shoulder reconstruction in as many years.
Slater went under the knife five weeks ago and, despite speculation it might spell the end of the 32-year-old superstar’s career, he says he’s looking forward to playing on next season.
“The signs are really good at the moment and the surgeon is really happy with where it is at,” Slater told Melbourne radio Nova.
“I get this sling off next week which I’m looking forward to and hopefully if all goes well I will be back next year.”
The fullback’s fearless approach has caught up with him in the form of shoulder injuries in recent times.
He played through pains in his right shoulder at the end of the 2010 and missed the following pre-season after surgery.
He then underwent a reconstruction on his left shoulder last June, before the latest setback when he was ruled out of the first round this season and had the shoulder fixed again.
“It’s been a tough 12 months,” he said.
“Somewhere in the past 12 months that operation hasn’t been successful.”
The latest injuries have also crushed his chances of breaking the 43-year all-time try-scoring record of 212 set by Ken Irvine.
Slater had 170 at the start of last season and would only have required slightly over 14 tries a season over the three years of his current contract to the the end of 2017 to claim the record.
However he will have played a total of just eight games in 2015 and 2016 and is still on 172 tries, meaning the record is now seemingly out of reach.