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Billy Slater eyes Auckland Nines

Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater is confident his problem shoulder won’t stop him from playing next year’s Auckland Nines rugby league tournament.

The 25-test Australian star expects his season-ending shoulder injury suffered in Origin II last month will be 100 per cent recovered in time for him to play.

“I have always wanted to play a Nines tournament because I know it would suit my style of play,” he said.

“I won’t have had a footy game for more than seven months by the time the Nines rolls around.

“Playing breaks up what is otherwise going be a very long and tedious pre-season for me.”

His Melbourne Storm club is supportive, particularly as it provides a clear indication of Slater’s intention to re-sign with the club in 2016.

With the Nines format allowing unlimited rolling substitutions, a place will be kept free for Slater in the Storms 18-man squad.

Coach Craig Bellamy says he be guided by the advice of the Storm’s medical team.

“It makes sense why Billy wants to play (the Nines) but ultimately they’ll decide whether he takes the field.”

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