Slater cleared to play in NRL Grand Final
Billy Slater has been cleared to play in the NRL Grand Final after a judiciary panel found the Melbourne Storm legend not guilty of a shoulder charge on Cronulla Sharks' Sosaia Feki.
Slater knocked Feki into touch when the Sharks winger was about to go over for a try in the first half of the Storm's 22-6 Preliminary Final win on Friday.
The incident marred a superb display from the 35-year-old that included two tries in his final match at AAMI Park, sending his side to the Grand Final in the process.
With Slater set to retire at the end of the 2018 season, a suspension would have ended his career early, but he will get a final swansong at ANZ Stadium against Sydney Roosters on Sunday.
BILLY IS FREE TO PLAY!!! pic.twitter.com/zVpyJdkWzA— Melbourne Storm (@storm) September 25, 2018
At his hearing Slater told the panel that Feki's attempt to change direction had caused the collision, the full-back saying his intention was to make a challenge just short of the try line.
"The whole time my intention was to make a tackle," he said.
"It happens earlier than I expected to do but I'm still attempting to wrap my right arm. Even my left arm is trying to wrap underneath.
"I was still trying to get my body in a position to get between the ball and the try line.
"I've got a duty to make a tackle, the duty of care is to myself and [the]player, Feki. To ensure I don't make a high tackle is a duty to Feki.
"I feel the contact that was made was unavoidable once he veered back in. I think the decisions I made ensured the safest possible contact was made."
After a deliberation lasting over 50 minutes the panel returned a not guilty verdict, clearing Slater to finish his illustrious career on the grandest stage this weekend.