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Saint Billy: Rugby league great joins AFL ranks

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ST KILDA has secured a coup in its football department, landing rugby league legend Billy Slater in an off-field role for 2019.

AFL.com.au understands Slater, fresh from a stellar NRL career with Melbourne Storm, will work closely with the Saints' leadership group, coaches and senior staff next season.

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Slater has been part of former Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell's leadership program at the Melbourne Storm in recent years and will implement his own agenda at the Saints.

There is also the potential of Slater including tackling coaching in his part-time capacity, with his time at Moorabbin expected to be around two days a week.

Confirmation of his deal at the Saints is expected to be confirmed by the club in coming days.

The Saints have been open with their need to add more resources to the club's football staff, which has included adding assistants Brett Ratten and Brendon Lade.

Slater will mix his time between the Saints and Storm in 2019 after also accepting a part-time specialist role at his former club.

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Slater's leadership commitments increased throughout 2018 as he captained the Storm and Queensland's State of Origin team for the first time.

The 35-year-old took the reins at Queensland in his 31st and final State representative game in July this year, while filling in for Storm captain Cameron Smith in May.

Slater finished his career with 319 NRL matches, which included two premierships and 30 matches for Australia.

The links between the NRL and AFL have increased in recent years, which included Slater's Storm coach Craig Bellamy addressing Collingwood before their semi-final win this season.

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