The Billy Slater shoulder charge that could end his career

Billy Slater’s career could be over despite the Melbourne Storm advancing to the Grand Final with a 22-6 preliminary final victory over the Sharks, thanks to a first-half shoulder charge.

Slater was attempting to make a try-saving tackle on Sharks winger Sosaia Feki when it all went wrong for the Storm champion, leaving him penalised for a shoulder charge.

After a stunning two-try performance, Slater addressed the matter, saying he anticipated Feki would step him back on the inside.

“I was just coming across at speed and I actually thought Feki was going to step back on the inside, and it was just a collision,” Slater told Nine.

“It would’ve been an awkward place to put my head if I had to duck it down.”

Many fans called for Slater to be sin-binned for the shoulder charge, considering the foul play stopped a try from being scored.

However the bigger issue for Billy is the potential for a suspension, with the minimum suspension for a shoulder charge a one game suspension.

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Billy Slater takes out Feki. Pic: Nine

Any incident that goes to the NRL match review committee will be dealt with within 24 hours.

It would be a horrible way for the Queensland and Kangaroos representative to end his career.

Fans took to social media in a frenzy, worried about Slater, while some called for him to be sin-binned.

The hit overshadowed a dominant showing by the Storm, who remain a chance of becoming the first team to go back-to-back in a unified competition since Brisbane in 1992-93.

They’ll now play in their eighth grand final since 2006 – including in their salary-cap breached years – next Sunday against the winner of Saturday night’s preliminary final between the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney.

Friday’s win came on a golden night for Melbourne’s old guard, with Cameron Smith passing 1100 career goals and reaching his highest season tally of points with 199.

In front of 26,621 fans, Slater was involved from the lead up of the Storm’s opening try after he hit a gap at speed from a Felise Kafusi ball and put Brodie Croft over in the 20th minute.

A shoulder charge by Billy Slater could see the retirement-bound star miss the NRL grand final

That opened the floodgates, with Slater slicing through Matt Moylan on the Sharks’ left-edge 10 minutes later, before he had his second moments before the break when he dived onto a Smith grubber out of dummy-half.

The try came as a number of Sharks’ forwards were distracted by a scuffle involving Andrew Fifita in back play, opening the gap for Slater to chase through.

It was a play that summed up Cronulla’s opening 40 minutes, the Sharks lacking composure without injured co-captains Wade Graham and Paul Gallen.

They had 52 per cent of the ball and had more play-the-balls in Melbourne’s red-zone than the Storm did at their end, but had to wait until the 68th minute for retiring veteran Luke Lewis to score their only try.

With AAP