Billy Slater believes his new two-year Melbourne contract shows there is still room for loyalty in the NRL.
Slater announced the deal, which allows him to play out an entire 15-year career with the Storm, in the same week fellow one-club veteran Robbie Farah revealed Wests Tigers had told him to look elsewhere or play reserves despite two years remaining on his contract.
Test and Queensland fullback Slater said he didn’t know all the detail on Farah but felt it was “extremely disappointing”.
“There’s been a bit of talk over the last couple of days about loyalty in the game,” Slater said on Thursday.
“In my case, I feel extremely loyal towards the Storm and I feel they’ve been extremely loyal to me.
“I’ve never actually considered or thought about playing for anyone else.
“I feel very honoured and privileged that I can finish may career down here in Melbourne where it all started.”
Slater joins Australian captain and fellow 32-year-old Cameron Smith in agreeing to a deal allowing him to see out his NRL days as a one-club player with Melbourne.
It should see him achieve the 300-game milestone with the Storm – he is currently on 277.
Smith signed a four-year deal to the end of 2018 and Slater hadn’t ruled out playing on beyond his latest deal to the end of 2017.
He has missed the second half of this season after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction following the second State of Origin game.
He said the recent time out of the game convinced him retirement was still a long way off.
“Watching the boys playing has been extremely tough and it’s reminded me I’m nowhere near retiring right now.
“I’m as hungry as ever and I’ve still got the drive to succeed.
“It’s not definitely my last contract but more than likely.
“The body’s feeling really good and I feel like I’ve got plenty of rugby league left in me.
“Two years might be enough – I’m not sure.”
While the heavy workload of NRL, Queensland and Test commitments takes a toll, Slater has no plans to wind back his game time.
“I love playing for Queensland and my country and, unfortunately due to injuries, I haven’t been able to play for Australia for a year-and-a-half now so those drives are definitely still there.
“I think I can still manage it.”