Slater wants to let the good times roll
RUGBY LEAGUE: Kangaroos star Billy Slater says he hopes the attention that has been given to his fight on Monday morning in Manchester does not stop other players from celebrating on-field success.
Slater was detained for several hours before being released without charge.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed the champion fullback had acted in self-defence when he exchanged punches with a 40-year-old man about 2.40am (local time) outside a nightclub.
At a media conference yesterday morning, Slater described the incident as a wake-up call for players.
"I think we've got to be aware of the situations that we find ourselves in," he said. "I suppose it's probably a bit of a wake-up call for everyone when we do go out, but I hope what happened last night doesn't jeopardise anyone else going out and having a good time."
It was the second media-grabbing incident involving an Australian player on the tour, after rookie prop Josh Papalii was robbed on a night out not long after the squad arrived in Manchester last month.
Australian players did not have a curfew and Slater said he could understand perceptions that by going out at night, players could put themselves at risk.
"We're over here for eight weeks and it's important to enjoy and celebrate your wins, but obviously you'd like to stay away from these situations," he said.
The two-time international player of the year also said he was extremely concerned about the worry caused to his family back in Australia.
"It's pretty tough on them being on the other side of the world and hearing stuff like this," he said.
Wife Nicole took to social media website Instagram to spell out how she felt about what had happened.
"Some man thought it was okay to punch my husband in the face because he thought he pushed in line," she wrote.
"If he had king-hit him and killed him I would have to raise my two kids alone.
"What has this world come to?"
The incident is not expected to jeopardise Slater's place in the team for the finals, which start on Friday night when New Zealand takes on Scotland in Leeds in the first quarter-final.
Two more quarters will be played on Saturday night, with Australia meeting the USA, and England taking on France, before another on Sunday night involving Samoa and Fiji.
Samoa avoided England by beating France 22-6 in the final group on Monday night.
In a team made up entirely of NRL players, Daniel Vidot, Anthony Milford, Pita Godinet and Junior Moors ran in tries for Samoa, which had three players put on report in a bruising encounter in Perpignan.