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Storm's Slater still troubled by shoulder

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016 Melissa Woods

Superstar Melbourne fullback Billy Slater says there's no guarantee he will play next year with his shoulder still not back to full strength.

The 33-year-old, who had a second reconstruction after round one in March, is back in pre-season training with the NRL grand finalists.

But he says he won't play again if he's not comfortable with how the injury has recovered.

"It's not 100 per cent yet but hopefully by next year it will be and all things going well I will be out there but there's no guarantees just yet as I haven't done a whole heap of contact work," Slater told AAP.

"If it's not in a position where I feel comfortable with it then I'm not going to be risking it.

"I'm more chance than not of playing but it's hard to say I'm definitely going to play next year because I haven't put it through those tests."

After only managing nine matches in two seasons, the Test and Maroons star said he still had the hunger to play beyond next season, when his Storm contract ends.

He filled this year with coaching and media commitments around his rehabilitation as the Storm advanced to the grand final, where they were beaten by Cronulla, but said he would rather still be on the field.

"I still want to play football and that's why I'm training now.

"I really have that hunger and drive to play and still want to play for another year or two and if my shoulder comes good hopefully I can do that."

Slater hasn't set a date to make a decision on his return and would be guided by the improvement in the troublesome joint.

"My surgeon says it's a two year recovery and I'm only eight months into it so by next March I will half way," he said.

"The shoulder will progressively tell me but it's going really well."

Cameron Munster filled the fullback role in Slater's absence with aplomb but he has been ear-marked for a shift to five-eighth following Blake Green's departure to Manly.

Melbourne football manager Frank Ponissi said he believed Slater was just being cautious after only lasting one game in his comeback from 2015 surgery.

"Billy's a bit guarded after going through the disappointment of missing the finals in 2015 and then having a big pre-season and then doing it first game," Ponissi said.

"We would be shocked if he didn't play."

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