Billy Slater of the Storm runs with the ball.
Billy Slater of the Storm runs with the ball. PAUL MILLER

Slater admits Maroons return is 'certainly rewarding'

BILLY Slater admits he thought his Origin days may have been over, though he was hellbent on returning to the Maroons.

The 33-year-old will next week play his first game for Queensland since game two of the 2015 series.

The Storm fullback was overlooked for the 2017 series-opener after recovering from two shoulder reconstructions that sidelined him last season.

"I didn't know I was going to play again, to be honest," Slater told QRL Media. "I am glad I have got that opportunity again.

"When people tell you that you'll never play again or commenting on your career when they don't have any control over it, that probably (triggers) the stubborn side of myself.

"Last year when I was involved in the series but not playing, it certainly drove me to continue to play ... my mind wasn't ready to give up just yet."

Slater said his lengthy stint on the sideline allowed him to fine-tune areas of his game that needed improving.

It has shown in the first half of the NRL season, the veteran starring with the ladder-leading Storm, despite being in the twilight of his career.

"It feels pretty good. It has been a long journey for myself," he said. "I've put in a lot of hard work so to be back at this standard is certainly rewarding."

Slater has also set his sights on a return to the Kangaroos line-up for the year-ending World Cup.

"Hopefully, I get another opportunity to play for my country," he said. "But I am just going to relish this week, enjoy it. And we need to lead by example at training, us older guys."