Newly re-signed, Cameron Munster is modelling his NRL career on superstar fullback Billy Slater in more ways than one, much to the delight of Melbourne.
Slater’s heir apparent has extended his contract with the Storm until the end of the 2019 season and wants to follow in the veteran’s footsteps by remaining a one-club player.
Melbourne can thank 21-year-old Munster’s mum Deborah for that idea.
“Mum’s always saying, ‘Be like Billy and be a one-club player’, and hopefully I can,” Munster said.
Despite being the target of a number of NRL clubs and linked to a move back to his native Queensland, Munster said he never looked to go elsewhere.
The exciting Munster has played 28 games since making his first grade debut in 2014 and has grabbed the opportunity presented by Slater’s injury woes to make the fullback jersey his own last season and again in 2016.
After claiming the Storm’s Best Back and Rookie of the Year honours in 2015, Munster has continued his rapid rise, ranking third in the NRL for total run metres in 2016.
“Melbourne were first to give me the opportunity and I’m very grateful for that,” Munster said.
“I’m excited that they want to keep me for the next couple of years; I was never going to say no.”
Slater, who underwent a second shoulder reconstruction ruling him out of this season, is intent on reclaiming his position next year – which could be his last – and Munster has no issues with playing elsewhere in the backline.
Rather he is grateful for the opportunity he’s had to learn from one of the game’s best.
“I learnt a whole lot when I first come down about talk and positional play in the game from Billy,” he said.
The Storm take on the defending champions North Queensland on Saturday afternoon with Munster looking forward to testing himself against another gun custodian in Lachlan Coote, who himself re-signed this week.
After not conceding a single point in their last two matches against the Warriors and Titans, Munster said his side were up for the challenge.
“All the boys know their role in defence and know that Melbourne is a good defensive side and the guys are working hard for each other,” he said.
“It’s going to be a tough task to contain (Johnathan) Thurston, (Michael) Morgan and Coote, who’s been one of the form fullbacks.”