Jahrome Hughes puts his own spin on Storm role

When Jahrome Hughes prepared for Melbourne Storm's season-opener he had the words of his predecessor Billy Slater guiding him.

Relax, play your game and don't put pressure on yourself to be another Slater.

Hughes followed the words of the club legend to a tee in the Storm's 22-12 win over Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park on Thursday night.

He did even better than could be expected scoring the season-opening try and running for 212 metres, winning the praise of coach Craig Bellamy.

"I was pretty nervous to start the week and Billy presented the No.1 jersey to me yesterday and just told me to relax and don't put pressure on yourself to be another Billy Slater," Hughes said after the game.

"Once we got to the game I was fine."

Jahrome Hughes heads for the try line to score the NRL season-opening try at AMMI Park on Thursday night in Storm’s round one game against Brisbane.Credit:AAP

As good as Hughes was, he won’t be escaping Slater’s enormous shadow just yet as his try came at the same end as the newly named Slater Stand.

"I pretty much done nothing [for the try] but I'll take the credit," Hughes said with a smile.

"It was pretty much the boys outside. Cameron Munster got a good off-load [to Kenny Bromwich] and all I had to do was fall over the line.

"It was a magic feeling that when the crowd goes up and it's the first try of the season."

Hughes' face lit up with a smile as he scored the try although he said his reaction was more surprise as he realised the try was under video review.

"I think they lit up more from surprise and then I wondered, 'Did I score? Was it a try?', but once it got the green light I was stoked," Hughes said.

Bellamy oversaw a tight battle through pre-season as Scott Drinkwater, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Hughes chased the starting full-back berth and Drinkwater appeared to have won that role before rupturing a pec muscle, which will see him out until late in the season.

"I might change my mind tomorrow when I look at the tape, but I thought Jahrome was our best player tonight, he was outstanding," Bellamy said after the match.

"He was effective with a lot of things that he did. His test will be to be consistent with that.

"I couldn't be more happy with his performance tonight so he just needs to make sure he gets his consistency up there."

Hughes also has set himself some homework after being unable to unsettle Broncos towering winger Corey Oates as he attacked the left corner for his first try.

Hughes arrived in time to knock Oates out of bounds but he made a late change of direction so Hughes missed.

"I should have done a better job there," Hughes said.

"I looked at the tape and I should have known he was going to step in but Corey is a tough bloke to handle.

"I'm thinking I'll need to strap my shoulders and get into him a bit more."

Hughes has only played 13 NRL games for the Storm and Papenhuyzen is still training hard in the background so he knows he needs more strong performances to retain the full-back role.

But what Thursday night showed was that Hughes had the right mindset and the talent to perform under the bright lights.

"Billy told me to do my own thing. The coaching staff said the same," Hughes said.

"I'm just trying to work on my strengths and bring that to every game."

The Storm play Canberra Raiders in Canberra on Friday at 6pm.

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