NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
Inside the NRL: Billy Slater makes Melbourne Storm return
Last Updated: 20/03/17 3:42pm
Jenna Brooks has the latest from the NRL as Billy Slater makes his highly-anticipated return, a former St Helens forward refuses to leave the pitch, plus details of the first coaching casualty of the season...
Slater made his highly anticipated return after more than a year away from the game following shoulder surgery.
The star full-back, who has been sidelined since round one last season, played 52 minutes in Melbourne's 14-12 win over Brisbane and the 33-year old says it's good to be back.
"I was a little bit rusty out there, but just so happy to finish the game," Slater said. "I was more nervous today than I was for my debut game.
"I'm really pleased to come through the other side. It's been a really long time and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
Wests Tigers have terminated coach Jason Taylor's contract, effective immediately. Assistant coach Andrew Webster has stepped into the role of interim head coach.
Taylor, who was out of contract at the end of this season, led his side to a round-one win over South Sydney before suffering heavy back-to-back defeats at the hands of Penrith and Canberra to leave the Balmain club bottom of the table.
Taylor took charge of the Tigers at the start of 2015, leading his team to 20 wins and 31 loses. They finished ninth last year, just missing out on making the finals.
The news has shocked the sport. Former Hull FC half-back and Parramatta legend Peter Sterling admits he feels very sorry for Taylor.
Two weeks ago he was on top of the world, and people were saying he finally had the team he wanted. It's all gone awry very, very quickly.
Peter Sterling on Jason Taylor's sacking
"I don't like any coach being sacked during the course of the season, let alone three weeks in," he said. "Two weeks ago he was on top of the world, and people were saying he finally had the team he wanted. It's all gone awry very, very quickly."
Eight months ago, Taylor survived a very public showdown with Robbie Farah after he decided to ungraciously push the Tigers captain and club legend out the door.
Balmain legend Paul Sironen has expressed his frustration towards Taylor in a Facebook post: "Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out."
South Sydney will be without George Burgess for the next two games after he took an early guilty plea for a grade two striking charge.
Burgess was also sent to the sin bin for the incident, which saw him elbow Newcastle forward Mitch Barnett during the Rabbitohs' 24-18 win over the Knights on Saturday.
Many pundits believed the punishment was too lenient. Peter Sterling said the 24-year old should have been sent off for the rest of the game.
"I haven't seen that in the game for a long, long time," he said.
In 2015 Burgess received the same punishment, a two-game ban, for throwing a water bottle from outside the field of play at Roosters prop Kane Evans.
Former Australia and NSW second-rower Mark Geyer said, "When he threw the water bottle that should have been a fine... but for a stray elbow like that, that's four to six weeks."
George's twin brother Thomas has spent the last two weeks playing in reserve grade but is favourite to replace George in the 17.
Joe Greenwood refused to leave the pitch on Friday night after suffering a head injury, which has led to the Gold Coast Titans facing a £93,000 fine from the NRL.
The Titans are one of three clubs facing breach notices relating to alleged mishandling of head injuries to Greenwood, Kane Elgey and Ryan Simpkins.
The former St Helens second-rower admitted he refused directions from a Titans trainer.
"You want to do everything you can for the team and I know my own body," he said. "The trainer wants me to come off but I won't."
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said player safety is the most important issue in the game.
"These are, by far, the heaviest fines ever proposed by the game for concussion breaches. That is how seriously we are taking it. "
Gold Coast centre Dan Sarginson has re-injured his knee and will be sidelined for the next three to four weeks.
Since moving to the Titans from Wigan at the end of 2016, Sarginson has struggled with knee problems.
The 23-year-old made his debut in the Titans' round-one defeat to the Roosters and was expected to return for Friday's game, but was ruled out pre-match.