Innisfail honour erases Slater's pain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Innisfail honour erases Slater's pain

By Laine Clark 17/12/2008 03:09:58 PM Comments (0)

Pain caused by the "hurtful" reaction to Billy Slater's World Cup final gaffe has finally been erased by an honour the Melbourne Storm flyer reckons surpasses his Golden Boot award.

The Australian fullback was "speechless" after Cassowary Coast Regional Council voted unanimously to re-name Callendar Park - in his far north Queensland hometown of Innisfail - after him.

Slater's mother Judy said her son had been blown away by his swag of 2008 individual awards, including the prestigious Golden Boot as the world's best player - but he rated the council's announcement higher.

Slater grew up watching his dad Ronnie captain-coach Innisfail Brothers on Callendar Park and played all his junior league on the same ground before his fateful drive to a Brisbane Norths trial seven years ago.

"He is speechless about this," his mother Judy told AAP.

"He was so happy after winning the Golden Boot.

"But he told me this was in a different league because it is so personal."

She believed it finally put the World Cup disappointment to bed.

After playing in Melbourne's 40-0 NRL grand final thrashing at the hands of Manly, Slater's season soured further when his no-look pass led to a match-turning New Zealand try in the World Cup final.

His mother revealed the pain Slater and their family endured during the inevitable post-World Cup backlash.

"I made a pledge to myself that I wasn't going to read what the media said about him," she said.

"At the end of the day they are out to sell newspapers and don't care about the feelings of the people they write about or their families.

"Because that did touch a lot of my family. It was very hurtful.

"Even Billy made the comment `gees, they (media) jump ship pretty quickly'.

"One day he was a hero and the next he was a villain.

"I thought that was very, very harsh considering there are 16 other players in the team.

"Billy will make those mistakes. He is going to try anything. When it comes off it is spectacular, when it doesn't it looks very bad.

"But we have moved on. I feel this has finally put it all behind us."

The council voted to re-name the park on Tuesday but are yet to finalise when Slater can attend a ceremony for the newly named oval.

Councillor Ian Rule felt former track work jockey Slater deserved to be honoured, saying winning the Golden Boot was "something like Makybe Diva's three Melbourne Cups".

Slater's name already appears on a sign outside Innisfail honouring the town's impressive list of sporting stars.

The Innisfail region boasts venues named after local products including former Wallabies forward Matt Cockbain, ex-Test winger Kerry Boustead and former Socceroo Steven Corica.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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