Slater ruled out of Storm's NRL opener
Melbourne Storm were dealt a blow as star full-back Billy Slater was ruled out of their NRL opener against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Slater will miss Saturday's clash in Perth due to a shoulder injury suffered in his team's World Club Challenge win over the Leeds Rhinos last month.
The Storm have decided not to risk the 34-year-old in their season opener as they begin their title defence, meaning Slater will have to wait at least another week to play his 300th NRL game.
"While I was very close to playing this weekend, I wanted to ensure I was ready and prepared to step onto the field for an NRL match and for what is a long and rigorous season, taking this precaution is the best course of action," Slater said in a statement on Monday.
Storm football director Frank Ponissi said he expected Slater's absence to be brief.
"Billy trained very well on Friday, however has pulled up a little sore since the session," he said.
"Billy and the medical staff have decided to take the cautious approach and therefore he won't play this Saturday.
"Scans have shown no structural damage, so we don't expect Billy to be sidelined for long."