Melbourne’s NRL icons Billy Slater and Cameron Smith will be immortalised after the Andrews Labor Government announced a statue of the duo will be erected in Gosch’s Paddock next to AAMI Park.
The two Storm legends boast a long list of outstanding achievements and have been instrumental in Melbourne’s sustained run of success, which includes appearing in eight of the last 13 NRL grand finals.
Both have been awarded the Dally M Medal for NRL player of the year – Smith has won the award twice – as well as being awarded numerous other accolades.
Slater and Smith have also had decorated international and representative careers with the Australia Kangaroos and with Queensland in State of Origin, having appeared for the Maroons 31 and 42 times respectively.
Remarkably, the two champions were both born on 18 June 1983 in the same state, foreshadowing the intertwined careers that were to follow.
The Labor Government wants to inspire more Victorians to join local clubs and get active and involved in sports like rugby league.
The Labor Government is investing $65,000 a year through the Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation Program to help increase participation – especially among women, aboriginal Victorians and CALD groups.
The Labor Government also invested $12 million to build a Rugby League Centre of Excellence in Broadmeadows, which will pave the way for a Melbourne Storm women’s team in the new NRL Women’s Premiership.
Five major NRL matches will be played in Victoria in the next six years, including State of Origin clashes in 2021 and 2025, and International Test Matches in 2022 and 2023.
As noted by Minister for Sport John Eren
“Victoria’s reputation as a sporting capital is built on the back of sporting heroes like Billy Slater and Cameron Smith inspiring the next generation to play the sport they love.”
“We’re proud to honour these legends, who have given so much to Victoria and to rugby league.”
“This statue will help the legacy of these two superstars live on forever and remind everyone of their greatness.”