Throughout 2017, the Cowboys were patchy, and as a result, they were completely unfancied in the finals, only to come from behind to upset the Cronulla Sharks, Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters in successive weeks, a remarkable run that captured the imagination of a nation. The 34-year-old fullback, who has done it all in rugby league for club and country, chocked back tears as the final hooter sounded.
'I'd just like to finish off by thanking one more person. and that's my wife, ' Slater said as he got choked up. To those guys, I wish you all the best.
They were the eighth placed team, the last placed team to qualify, and going up against the second placed team, and the Cowboys were riddled with injuries to the likes of Jonathan Thurston, but the heart and desire they showed saw them emerge triumphant. He controls everything out of dummy half. There is no better player than Cameron Smith at directing play around the ruck at tiring props. In defence they'll make sure they have at least one defender chopping his legs out from underneath him. In both the qualifying final and the preliminary final Melbourne put themselves under all manner of pressure with a series of early errors that are most unlike the Storm we've come to know.
"But we certainly wanted to send him out the right way, the way that he should've gone". You just can't relax with Melbourne, it is just too good, too in sync, too clinical, too professional. Since his return he hasn't be as risky out of dummy-half as he can be, and I have a feeling he might have a special performance up his sleeve for the grand final. He is one of the most exciting full-backs to ever play rugby league and he'll be the one to benefit from the Storm's all-round dominance. Their confidence is infectious on the rest of the group.
Munster revealed they had hatched a plan to get up in Morgan's face and made no secret of their desire to nullify his influence and rattle his cage.
The only time the Cowboys will be vulnerable is when Taumalolo leaves the field for a rest in the middle of the game.
"I'll celebrate this, wake up with a hangover in a couple of days, and then I'll have a think about it", Cronk said.
The Cowboys won the grand final two years ago in the 79th minute.
A year on and the Cowboys could only hope to get close enough to lay a hand, let alone a swinging arm, on the elusive Melbourne winger as he lit up ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
His team-mate, Cooper Cronk, was equally coy, and would give no indication on whether he will continue his career by joining a Sydney-based team next year or hang up his boots.
North Queensland and Melbourne will go head-to-head for NRL glory on Sunday, but who should you be backing?