Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
He is rated the NRL's best fullback by premiership-winning coach Craig Bellamy.
But Billy Slater is not getting too excited about his form, saying he is not worrying about gaining Queensland Origin selection anymore.
It may be two months away from the State of Origin opener but Queensland selectors were given plenty of food for thought on Tuesday.
Key Maroons forwards Steve Price and Neville Costigan faced long injury stints while livewire No.1 Slater once again put forward his impressive case for a call-up.
Both Price (hamstring) and Costigan (quad) will be sweating on how injury impacts on their Queensland Origin preparation - but on Tuesday Slater claimed he was not losing sleep over Maroons selection again.
"I've probably been thinking about that the last two years and it hasn't come my way," Slater told reporters.
"But this year I will be just concentrating on playing good football and enjoying my football out on the field with my teammates."
It's an attitude that seems to be working, judging by his Melbourne Storm coach Bellamy's glowing praise.
"I don't want to be disrespectful to any other fullbacks because we are in a situation at the moment where we've got so many good fullbacks in this competition," Bellamy said.
"But I wouldn't swap him for anybody else."
Bellamy was reaching for superlatives after Slater's three-try first half effort in Melbourne's 32-18 win over New Zealand Warriors Monday.
The Innisfail flyer last tasted Origin way back in 2005.
Costigan has been ruled out for six to eight weeks after re-injuring his quad in Canberra's opening round loss at Newcastle.
It ensures he will be battling to be in contention for the May 21 Origin I clash at Sydney.
But Price is keeping his fingers crossed.
Scans this week will reveal the full extent of the Queensland warhorse's hamstring tear suffered in the Warriors' first round defeat.
He lasted only 17 minutes on Monday night.
"Hopefully it is not that bad. Hopefully I am just being a bit sooky," Price told reporters.