Versatile Slater gets the jump on Wesser - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Versatile Slater gets the jump on Wesser

By Steve Jancetic and Adam Cooper 11/04/2005 08:48:00 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne fullback Billy Slater believes his versatility may have given him the edge in his representative selection battle with Penrith rival Rhys Wesser.

The Storm custodian was named in a preliminary 23-man squad for the Anzac Test against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on Friday week.

Wesser was expected to get the nod ahead of the Storm flyer, especially after the Penrith No.1 outpointed his Melbourne counterpart in Friday night's NRL clash at Penrith Stadium with a match-winning two-try performance.

But it was the 21-year-old Slater from Innisfail who got the call-up.

"I suppose my versatility (helped), playing on the wing or in the centres as well," Slater said.

"I don't know why Rhysy didn't get picked, but obviously the selectors have their reasons and Anthony Minichiello is in the squad, so he's probably going to be the fullback (anyway).

"(Wesser) probably missed out because he's at fullback and he hasn't played anywhere else in the first grade that I know of.

"I thought a few of the other boys would have got in before I did but I'll take it and hopefully I can have a good game this weekend to make the (final) selection."

Selectors will announce the final 17-man Test squad following the completion of this weekend's round of NRL matches on Sunday evening.

Having had to settle for a spot on the wing in Queensland's State of Origin side last year after Wesser was preferred for the fullback job, Slater said he didn't believe that the selection necessarily made him the favourite to fill the Maroons' No.1 jumper this season.

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