THE NRL has been rocked by the early call from superstar fullback Billy Slater who has called time on his stellar career.
While Slater will play out the remainder of the 2018 season, the 35-year-old decided to end the months of speculation surrounding his future at the Melbourne Storm.
An official announcement came at a press conference in front of a packed room this afternoon, where journalists reported Slater fought back tears as he described his 16 years in the game.
Slater has an expansive trophy cabinet which contains two Clive Churchill Medals, a Dally M Medal, two NRL Grand Final trophies.
He was also a key piece in Queensland's State of Origin dominance and was a part of eight series' victories.
"I feel so very lucky to have had the career I've had," he said.
"Eighteen years ago, I made a decision to pack my car up and drive 20 hours to chase my dream.
"Four months later, this club the Melbourne Storm, gave me that opportunity."
Slater said he felt grateful and loyal to the Storm.
35-year-old @billyslater announcing that he'll retire from the NRL at the end of the season. He debuted for the @storm in 2003. Playing 313 games, and scoring 187 tries. #NRL #7News https://t.co/jhHILHM0gJ— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) August 8, 2018
Slater first made his NRL debut with the Melbourne Storm all the way back in 2003 and he has amassed a record of 313 games in which time he's scored 187 tries.
Over his career he's played in 31 Origin games and 30 Tests for Australia.
Slater announced his retirement from rep football earlier this year, sealing his Origin career with a win at Suncorp Stadium in the final game of the series in which he captained the Maroons side for the first and final time.
The series itself went to the Blues and Slater's retirement could see Queensland's dominance on the State of Origin field weaken in the years to come.