Storm Cleared: Billy Slater Set For GF Farewell
Melbourne champion Billy Slater's dream of bowing out with a premiership is alive after overturning a shoulder charge citing in a mammoth three-hour judiciary hearing on Tuesday.
In arguably the biggest judiciary case of the NRL era, an anxious Slater took centre stage as he pleaded his case on why his career shouldn't end with a shoulder charge ban.
Both sides argued for two hours before Slater was made to sweat another 54 minutes before the three-person panel of Mal Cochrane, Bob Lindner and Sean Garlick found Slater not guilty.
The retiring fullback breathed a huge sigh of relief before being embraced by coach Craig Bellamy, chief executive Dave Donaghy, and football manager Frank Ponissi.
The Storm troupe then returned home to Melbourne on a private jet late on Tuesday night ahead of the team's flight back up to Sydney on Wednesday.
"I'd like to thank the judiciary members for a fair hearing. It was important for me tonight to get my point across and what my intentions were in this incident," Slater said afterwards.
"Now it's important for me to focus on the game. I haven't started my preparations for the game yet. That starts as of now."
Slater twice got up in front of the panel to demonstrate how Sosaia Feki's step had resulted in the 35-year-old taking evasive action to avoid dangerous contact with the Cronulla winger.
He claimed that despite the collision, his right hand was the first point of contact and his left hand had attempted to grab Feki's right arm.
He also suggested Feki cocked his elbow prior to the collision, forcing Slater to turn his body, and that it was the force from his hip that cannoned the Sharks player over the sideline.
"I've still got a tenderness on my hip today and it was four days ago. That was the force of the hips colliding," Slater said during the hearing.
The controversial decision is likely to ignite further debate on the shoulder charge, with former Kangaroos captain Brad Fittler claiming the ruling would set a precedent prior to the hearing.